Belgian Court Rules on Jurisdiction for Restitution Claims

On 13 December 2012, the Court of Appeal of Liege held that restitution claims fall within the scope of Article 2 of the Brussels I Regulation.

A Belgian company was suing a Luxembourg company in Belgium. The companies had concluded a contract for carriage of goods. The Belgian company claimed restitution of certain payments from the Luxembourg party.

The Belgian Court wondered whether restitution claims belong to Article 5.1 or 5.3 of the Brussels I Regulation. It concluded that they do not, because under the Belgian law of obligations a claim in restitution is quasi-contractual and thus neither contractual nor delictual. As a consequence, the court held, only Article 2 applied.

It is unclear whether any party argued that there might be autonomous interpretation of the Brussels I Regulation, and that the European Court of Justice judgment in Kalfelis might well stand for the proposition that quasi-contractual claims are delictual for the purpose of Article 5.3 of the Regulation.