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Internet Jurisdiction over B2C Contracts under the Brussels I Regulation after the CJEU’s Decision in Joined Cases Pammer and Alpenhof

Lindblom, Sven LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Gränsöverskridande e-handel ger upphov till en del juridiska problem inte minst då tvister uppstår mellan avtalsparterna. Något som diskuterats särskilt bland rättsvetare världen över, är vilket lands domstol som ska ha jurisdiktion när avtalstvister uppstår i detta sammanhang.

I Bryssel I-förordningen finns vissa delvis tvingande domsrättsregler som är tillämpliga då avtalstvister uppstår mellan näringsidkare och konsument. Dessa bestämmelser innebär något förenklat att konsumenten endast kan bli stämd i sitt hemvistland medan näringsidkaren kan bli stämd både i det land där denna är etablerad samt i konsumentens hemvistland. Det finns dock villkor för att dessa regler ska bli tillämpliga. Det mest intressanta villkoret, från ett... (More)
Gränsöverskridande e-handel ger upphov till en del juridiska problem inte minst då tvister uppstår mellan avtalsparterna. Något som diskuterats särskilt bland rättsvetare världen över, är vilket lands domstol som ska ha jurisdiktion när avtalstvister uppstår i detta sammanhang.

I Bryssel I-förordningen finns vissa delvis tvingande domsrättsregler som är tillämpliga då avtalstvister uppstår mellan näringsidkare och konsument. Dessa bestämmelser innebär något förenklat att konsumenten endast kan bli stämd i sitt hemvistland medan näringsidkaren kan bli stämd både i det land där denna är etablerad samt i konsumentens hemvistland. Det finns dock villkor för att dessa regler ska bli tillämpliga. Det mest intressanta villkoret, från ett e-handelsperspektiv, är det som stadgas i artikel 15(1)(c) som anger att dessa konsumentvänliga regler blir tillämpliga om näringsidkaren ”riktar” sin verksamhet till konsumentens hemvistland. Föreliggande uppsats behandlar dels frågan om när artikel 15(1)(c) blir tillämplig då en näringsidkare säljer produkter till konsumenter via internet och dels den praktiska betydelsen av ovannämnda regel.

Innebörden av begreppet ”riktar” i artkel 15(1)(c) berördes genom EUD:s avgörande i Pammer och Alpenhof, från december 2010. EUD angav att det avgörande blir att pröva huruvida det – innan ett avtal ingås med konsumenten – framgår av webbsidan och av näringsidkarens verksamhet i stort att denne avsåg att handla med konsumenter med hemvist i den aktuella medlemsstaten, i den bemärkelsen att näringsidkaren var beredd att ingå avtal med dessa konsumenter. EUD angav ett antal omständigheter som talar för att en verksamhet är riktad till ett visst annat land. De av EUD angivna omständigheterna avsågs inte utgöra en uttömmande förteckning. Det ankommer på den nationella domstolen att ta ställning till huruvida förutsättningarna är uppfyllda.

Slutsatsen är att artikel 15(1)(c) har ett vitt tillämpningsområde och att det oftast kommer att vara relativt klart huruvida förutsättningarna är uppfyllda. Vissa problematiska situationer kan emellertid uppkomma då näringsidkaren ytterst sällan eller av misstag ingår avtal med konsumenter från andra medlemsstater. I dessa situationer måste det enskilda fallet analyseras noggrant.

Den praktiska betydelsen av artikel 15(1)(c) inom e-handel ska dock inte överdrivas. Karaktären av de e-handelstransaktioner som denna uppsats behandlar är sådana att eventuella tvister som uppstår oftast inte lämpar sig för domstolsprövning bl.a. eftersom transaktionsvärdena som regel är mycket låga. Stadgandet kan dock, tillsammans med andra konsumentvänliga regler, bidra till att främja e-handel eftersom konsumenter blir mer benägna att handla om de har juridiska rättigheter på sin sida. (Less)
Abstract
Cross-border e-commerce gives rise to a number of legal issues. One particular difficulty, discussed by legal commentators all over the world, is how to allocate jurisdiction when disputes arise over e-contracts.

The Brussels I Regulation contains certain semi-mandatory jurisdiction rules which apply in relation to contract disputes between traders and consumers. These rules give the consumer a right to sue the trader in either his home country or the country where the trader is established. The trader, on the other hand, may only sue the consumer in the country where the consumer is domiciled. There are, however, a number of necessary preconditions that have to be satisfied in order for the consumer protective rules to be triggered.... (More)
Cross-border e-commerce gives rise to a number of legal issues. One particular difficulty, discussed by legal commentators all over the world, is how to allocate jurisdiction when disputes arise over e-contracts.

The Brussels I Regulation contains certain semi-mandatory jurisdiction rules which apply in relation to contract disputes between traders and consumers. These rules give the consumer a right to sue the trader in either his home country or the country where the trader is established. The trader, on the other hand, may only sue the consumer in the country where the consumer is domiciled. There are, however, a number of necessary preconditions that have to be satisfied in order for the consumer protective rules to be triggered. The most interesting precondition, in the context of e-commerce, is to be found in article 15(1)(c), which stipulates that consumer protective jurisdiction will apply when the trader directs his activity to the Member State where the consumer is domiciled. This essay examines when an online retailer directs his activity, within the meaning of article 15(1)(c), to the consumer’s domicile if he uses a website in order to sell goods or commodities to consumers. In addition, the essay addresses the practical importance of article 15(1)(c) in the context of online retailing.

The concept of “directed” activity was interpreted by the CJEU in Pammer and Alpenhof. The Court held that it should be ascertained whether, before the contract with a consumer was concluded, it is apparent from the website and the trader’s overall activity that he envisaged doing business with consumers domiciled in other Member States, including the Member State of that consumer’s domicile, in the sense that it was minded to conclude a contract with those consumers. The CJEU adopted a non-exhaustive list of features, which constitute evidence of such intention. The national court seised of the dispute will have to decide whether the conditions are fulfilled.

It is my conclusion that article 15(1)(c) has a wide scope and that it will be relatively clear in most cases whether or not the necessary preconditions are fulfilled. However, intricate legal situations arise in scenarios where the online retailer either occasionally or mistakenly contracts with consumers domiciled in other Member States. In such situations, the circumstances of the individual case will have to be examined in detail.

The practical importance of article 15(1)(c), in the context of online retailing, should, however, not be exaggerated. The special features of these transactions do not make litigation an attractive way of solving disputes that arise over these contracts. However, article 15(1)(c) can work in conjunction with other consumer protective provisions and induce online retailers to adopt friendly consumer policies which in turn could promote consumer confidence. (Less)
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author
Lindblom, Sven LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Internetjurisdiktion under Bryssel I-förordningen efter EUD:s avgörande i Pammer och Alpenhof
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Private International Law
language
English
id
2371125
date added to LUP
2012-05-29 15:33:31
date last changed
2012-05-30 14:32:57
@misc{2371125,
  abstract     = {Cross-border e-commerce gives rise to a number of legal issues. One particular difficulty, discussed by legal commentators all over the world, is how to allocate jurisdiction when disputes arise over e-contracts.
 
The Brussels I Regulation contains certain semi-mandatory jurisdiction rules which apply in relation to contract disputes between traders and consumers. These rules give the consumer a right to sue the trader in either his home country or the country where the trader is established. The trader, on the other hand, may only sue the consumer in the country where the consumer is domiciled. There are, however, a number of necessary preconditions that have to be satisfied in order for the consumer protective rules to be triggered. The most interesting precondition, in the context of e-commerce, is to be found in article 15(1)(c), which stipulates that consumer protective jurisdiction will apply when the trader directs his activity to the Member State where the consumer is domiciled. This essay examines when an online retailer directs his activity, within the meaning of article 15(1)(c), to the consumer’s domicile if he uses a website in order to sell goods or commodities to consumers. In addition, the essay addresses the practical importance of article 15(1)(c) in the context of online retailing.

The concept of “directed” activity was interpreted by the CJEU in Pammer and Alpenhof. The Court held that it should be ascertained whether, before the contract with a consumer was concluded, it is apparent from the website and the trader’s overall activity that he envisaged doing business with consumers domiciled in other Member States, including the Member State of that consumer’s domicile, in the sense that it was minded to conclude a contract with those consumers. The CJEU adopted a non-exhaustive list of features, which constitute evidence of such intention. The national court seised of the dispute will have to decide whether the conditions are fulfilled.

It is my conclusion that article 15(1)(c) has a wide scope and that it will be relatively clear in most cases whether or not the necessary preconditions are fulfilled. However, intricate legal situations arise in scenarios where the online retailer either occasionally or mistakenly contracts with consumers domiciled in other Member States. In such situations, the circumstances of the individual case will have to be examined in detail.

The practical importance of article 15(1)(c), in the context of online retailing, should, however, not be exaggerated. The special features of these transactions do not make litigation an attractive way of solving disputes that arise over these contracts. However, article 15(1)(c) can work in conjunction with other consumer protective provisions and induce online retailers to adopt friendly consumer policies which in turn could promote consumer confidence.},
  author       = {Lindblom, Sven},
  keyword      = {Private International Law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Internet Jurisdiction over B2C Contracts under the Brussels I Regulation after the CJEU’s Decision in Joined Cases Pammer and Alpenhof},
  year         = {2012},
}