Tag Archive for: jurisdiction clause

Austrian Supreme Court Rules on the Validity of a Jurisdiction Clause Based on a General Reference to Terms of Purchase on a Website

By Biset Sena Günes, Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg

Recently, on 25 October 2023, the Austrian Supreme Court (‘OGH’) [2 Ob 179/23x, BeckRS 2023, 33709] ruled on whether a jurisdiction clause included in the terms of purchase (‘ToP’) was valid when a written contract made reference to the website containing the ToP but did not provide the corresponding internet link. The Court held that such a clause does not meet the formal requirements laid down under Article 25 of the Brussels I (recast) Regulation and, hence, is invalid. The judgment is undoubtedly of practical relevance for the conclusion of international commercial contracts that make reference to digitally available general terms and conditions (‘GTCs’), and it is an important follow-up to the decisions by the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) in the cases of El Majdoub (C-322/14, available here) and Tilman (C-358/21, available here).

Read more

Australia’s statutist orthodoxy: High Court confirms the extraterritorial scope of the Australian Consumer Law in the Ruby Princess COVID-cruise case

The Ruby Princess will be remembered by many Australians with disdain as the floating petri dish that kicked off the spread of COVID-19 in Australia. The ship departed Sydney on 8 March 2020, then returned early on 19 March 2020 after an outbreak. Many passengers became sick. Some died. According to the BBC, the ship was ultimately linked to at least 900 infections and 28 deaths.

Read more

New Article: Jurisdiction Clauses in Canada

Tanya Monestier (Roger Williams University School of Law) has published an article (available here) addressing the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Douez v Facebook, Inc. (available here).

The abstract reads: Every day, billions of people use the online social media platform, Facebook.  Facebook requires, as a condition of use, that users “accept” its terms and conditions — which include a forum selection clause nominating California as the exclusive forum for dispute resolution.  In Douez v. Facebook, the Supreme Court of Canada considered whether this forum selection clause was enforceable, or whether the plaintiff could proceed with her suit in British Columbia.  The Supreme Court of Canada ultimately decided that the forum selection clause was not enforceable.  It held that the plaintiff had established “strong cause” for departing from the forum selection clause.  The Court premised its decision on two primary considerations: the contract involved a consumer and was one of adhesion, and the claim involved the vindication of privacy rights. The Court’s analysis suffers from several major weaknesses that will undoubtedly cause confusion in this area of law.  This Article will examine those weaknesses, and argue that the Supreme Court of Canada actually abandoned the strong cause test that it claimed to be applying.  The consequence of the Douez decision is that many forum selection clauses — at least in the consumer context — will be rendered unenforceable.  While this may be a salutary development from the perspective of consumer protection, it will undoubtedly have an effect on companies choosing to do business in Canada.