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Opinion of Advocate General Bobek on Articles 15 and 16 Regulation No 44/2001 (Schrems, Case C-498/16)

Written by Stephan Walter, Research Fellow at the Research Center for Transnational Commercial Dispute Resolution (TCDR), EBS Law School, Wiesbaden, Germany.

Today, Advocate General Bobek delivered his opinion in Schrems (Case C-498/16) on the interpretation of Articles 15 and 16 of Regulation No 44/2001.

The Austrian Supreme Court referred two preliminary questions to the CJEU:

(1) Is Article 15 of [Regulation No 44/2001] to be interpreted as meaning that a “consumer” within the meaning of that provision loses that status, if, after the comparatively long use of a private Facebook account, he publishes books in connection with the enforcement of his claims, on occasion also delivers lectures for remuneration, operates websites, collects donations for the enforcement of his claims and has assigned to him the claims of numerous consumers on the assurance that he will remit to them any proceeds awarded, after the deduction of legal costs?

(2) Is Article 16 of [Regulation No 44/2001] to be interpreted as meaning that a consumer in a Member State can also invoke at the same time as his own claims arising from a consumer supply at the claimant’s place of jurisdiction the claims of others consumers on the same subject who are domiciled

(a) in the same Member State,

(b) in another Member State,


(c) in a non-member State,

if the claims assigned to him arise from consumer supplies involving the same defendant in the same legal context and if the assignment is not part of a professional or trade activity of the applicant, but rather serves to ensure the joint enforcement of claims?

With regard to the first preliminary question, AG Bobek found that

42. (…) the central element upon which consumer status for the purpose of Articles 15 and 16 of Regulation No 44/2001 is to be assessed is the nature and aim of contract to which the claim(s) relate. In complex cases where the nature and aim of a contract is mixed, namely, that it is both private and professional, there must be an assessment of whether the professional ‘content’ can be considered as marginal. If that is indeed the case, consumer status may still be retained. Moreover, it ought not be excluded that in certain exceptional situations, due to the indeterminate content and the potentially long duration of the contract, the status of one of the parties may shift over time.

62. (…) the carrying out of activities such as publishing, lecturing, operating websites, or fundraising for the enforcement of claims does not entail the loss of consumer status for claims concerning one’s own Facebook account used for private purposes.

However, AG Bobek answered the second question in the negative. He argued that

118. (…) on the basis of Article 16(1) of Regulation No 44/2001 a consumer cannot invoke, at the same time as his own claims, claims on the same subject assigned by other consumers domiciled in other places of the same Member State, in other Member States or in non-member States.

The very interesting opinion can be downloaded here.

50 Years of EU Private International Law in Therapy – Call for Papers

I have just received this Call for papers related to the International Seminar “50 Years of EU Private International Law in Therapy”, organized by the Spanish Association of Professors of International Law and International Relations (AEPDIRI) and the University of Valencia (Spain). It will be held in Valencia on January 25th, 2018.

The purpose of the seminar is to critically examine the five decades of codification of private international law in the EU, assessing its achievements and shortcomings, as well as its interaction with existing national and conventional responses, and with the practice of legal practitioners. In short, the seminar seeks to assess the regulatory and policy outcomes and their impact on the activity of EU operators and citizens. It covers the three classic fields of international jurisdiction, applicable law, and circulation of judgments and public documents in the European Union, without focusing on any specific act adopted by the EU. Future prospects for the process will also be addressed, considering the regulatory proposals on which the European Commission is working.

All those interested in presenting a paper should send their proposal by November 30th, 2017, to For guidance purposes, the following topics are suggested (non-exhaustively):

1. Codification techniques in EU private international law.- The need for Regulations; advantages and disadvantages of sector-specific codification; external competences of the EU; interaction with the Hague Conference (HCCH) and other codification forums.

2. Scope and limitations of mutual recognition.- Enforcement of judgments; effectiveness of civil status documents; restrictions on recognition.

3. Interaction of EU private international law with the Spanish model of private international law.- Close and open-ended Regulations; scope of autonomous private international law; intra-EU and international private relations.

4. Impact of private international law on legal practitioners.- Review of the concept of authority; contentious and voluntary jurisdiction; out-of-court procedures; scope of notarial activities in the EU; implementation of EU private international law by public registry officials.

5. The “interregional” dimension of the EU private international law model.- Reference to multi-legal systems and their internal dimension; review of the Spanish model of interregional law.

Applications must be accompanied by the following documents in Word format:

-1. A document with the following information only: title of the proposal; name of the candidate; home university; academic position; indication of whether the candidate is member of AEPDIRI.

-2. Summary of the proposal (without indication of the name of the candidate, but only the title, contents and 3-5 keywords), of 1000-1500 words.

-3. Brief CV (max. 5 pages).

A book will be published  bringing together all the papers and communications submitted –or accepted without oral presentation– for this Seminar.

On the application of Art. 19.2 Service Regulation

In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court of Greece dismissed a cassation against an appellate decision, confirming the findings of the first instance ruling, which issued a default judgment against an Italian company, following the return of a non-service certificate by an Italian bailiff. The interesting part of the judgment is related to the application of Art. 19.2 Service Regulation. The questions raised are twofold:

First, the extent of efforts to be made by the Receiving Authority, before deciding to return the document to the Transmitting Authority.

Second, the presumption of the Greek Supreme Court that failure of the defendant to notify his change of abode, allows a court to continue with the proceedings, even when the change occurred before lis pendens.

More information can be found here.