Tick Tock: CJEU rules on temporal application of the Rome II Regulation

On 17 November 2011, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered its ruling in Case C-412/10, Homawoo v GMF Assurances on the temporal effect of the Rome II Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 864/2007) . In line with the earlier opinion (if not all of the reasoning) of Advocate General Mengozzi, the Court rules that the date of application of the Rome II Regulation is fixed by Art. 32 of the Regulation at 11 January 2009, with the consequence that the Regulation will apply only to events giving rise to damage occurring from that date (Art. 31).

The terms of the Court’s ruling are as follows:

Articles 31 and 32 of Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (‘Rome II’), read in conjunction with Article 297 TFEU, must be interpreted as requiring a national court to apply the Regulation only to events giving rise to damage occurring after 11 January 2009 and that the date on which the proceedings seeking compensation for damage were brought or the date on which the applicable law was determined by the court seised have no bearing on determining the scope ratione temporis of the Regulation.

Although differing from my own view, influenced by the legislative history of Arts 31 and 32, the Court’s reasoning is quite convincing. The swift and decisive settlement of this point of controversy, just over a year after the reference, is to be welcomed.

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