European judicial procedures

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European judicial procedures. Contract breaches.

If you have problems with the fulfillment of contracts with companies from other member states of the European Union, we can make the necessary legal claims until we achieve compliance with the contractual obligations assumed. We have an office specialized in cross-border matters in Italy and France, with numerous cases resolved in both directions: for lawsuits received from countries of the union, as well as lawsuits filed in other countries of the union.

In judicial proceedings involving two member states of the European Union, in the absence of submission to a specific national law, European regulations will apply These include the Regulation (EC) n or 593/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations (Rome I) (OJ L 177, 4.7.2008, p. 6-16)    

  • It establishes the EU-wide rules that national law must apply to contractual obligations in civil and commercial matters that affect more than one country.
  • This Regulation, known as “Rome I”, joins two other regulations – Rome II (non-contractual obligations) and Rome III (divorce and legal separation) – to determine the law applicable to different types of civil and commercial matters.
  • Roma II (obligaciones extracontractuales) y Roma III (divorcio y separación legal)— para determinar la ley aplicable a los diferentes tipos de asuntos civiles y mercantiles.

Exclusions for European judicial procedures

The Regulation does not apply to fiscal, customs and administrative matters, nor to evidence and proceedings during legal proceedings. Obligations in relation to:

  • The marital status and capacity of natural persons
  • Family relationships
  • Matrimonial property regimes
  • Documents that guarantee payment of a specific amount of money, such as bills of exchange, checks and promissory notes
  • Arbitration and the choice of the competent court
  • The Law of companies, associations or legal persons
  • The trusts
  • The dealings prior to the conclusion of a contract

Scope of applicable law

The Regulation establishes the applicable national law in different aspects of contracts, including:

  • How a contract is interpreted and what must be done to fulfill it
  • The consequences of non-compliance with contractual obligations, including the assessment of the damage
  • The different ways of ending contractual obligations (eg payment, compensation, cancellation of the contract), the limitation * and the time limits for taking legal action
  • The consequences of the nullity of a contract

Freedom of choice

  • The contract will be governed by the law chosen by the parties
  • The law may apply to all or only part of the contract
  • The parties may, at any time, agree that the contract is governed by a different law

Applicable law in the absence of choice

If the parties do not choose an applicable law, the type of contract determines the rules:

  • Contracts for the sale, provision of services, franchise or distribution are governed by the law of the country of residence of the seller, the service provider or the franchisee.  
  • Contracts for real estate are governed by the law of the country where the real estate is located, except in cases of temporary and private leasing (maximum six consecutive months). In these cases, the applicable law is that of the country where the owner has his habitual residence.  
  • The sale of goods by auction shall be governed by the law of the country where the auction takes place.  
  • In the event that none or more of the above rules apply to a contract, it is governed by the law of the country where the party who must perform the characteristic performance of the contract has his habitual residence.

However, if the contract has closer ties to a country other than that suggested by these regulations, it will be governed by the law of that country. This same principle will be followed when the applicable law cannot be determined.

Specific contracts

For certain specific types of contract, the Regulation offers options to choose the applicable law and determines the law that will govern the contract in the absence of choice. These include:

  • Contracts for the transport of goods
  • Contracts for the transport of passengers
  • Consumer contracts between consumers and professionals
  • Insurance contracts

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