Sharing Economy in EU Private International Law
Edoardo Rossi has published (in Italian) a book on the Sharing Economic in EU Private International Law (“La Sharing Economy nel diritto internazionale privato europeo”). The author has kindly provided us with an abstract:
In the current economic and social context new and controversial sharing practices, offering anyone the opportunity to search for or make available goods or services on the market regardless of the professional or amateur nature of the persons involved, have emerged. These practices, very heterogeneous and concerning the most different areas of daily life, such as mobility, housing, business activities, communications, work, culture, communication, education and finance, have been linked to the notion of “sharing economy”, which brings them together by virtue of temporary access to goods or services, facilitated by the large-scale intervention of digital platforms, through which requests and offers are coordinated online in order to share goods or services.
The legitimacy of schemes linked to these new economic models has been challenged in a number of aspects, including low quality of services, safety of consumers, authorisation and licensing, taxes and compliance with competition rules. The inadequacy of the existing rules to deal with the provision of services through the sharing economy models has consequently emerged.
In spite of these critical profiles, the legal relations established through sharing economy platforms are constantly increasing around the world, implying the emergence of elements of transnationality, from which derives the recourse to the rules of private international law, in order to determine the applicable law and the judge competent to rule on any disputes.
The monograph thus attempts to analyse some of the most important private international law issues, such as the inadequacy of the party autonomy in regulating the phenomenon, especially with reference to the general terms and conditions of contract unilaterally drawn up by platform operators, which state that the latter is totally unrelated to the legal relations between users, often in conflict with the minimum level of consumer protection guaranteed by EU law and by the national legislations. Critical profiles have also been identified in the online conclusion of contracts that bind the parties involved in sharing economy legal relations, in ascertaining the effectiveness of consent on the choice of forum and choice of law clauses, in cases of potential related actions and in the location of the “domicile” of the platform operators.