03 June 2007

European Union brings in harmonised rules on law applicable to civil liability ('Rome II' Regulation)

The European Parliament and the Council approved a regulation harmonising the rules concerning the law applicable to non-contractual obligations ('Rome II'). The aim is to ensure that courts in all the Member States apply the same law in the event of cross-border disputes in matters of tort/delict, thus facilitating the mutual recognition of court decisions in the European Union. The Regulation adopts the solution applied in the majority of Member States and establishes a general rule that the law of the country in which the damage occurs (for example, the law of the place of the road accident) will apply, unless the parties both have their habitual residence in another country, in which case the law of that country will apply. There are a number of specific rules for the commonest specific torts/delicts such as product liability, environmental damage, anti-competitive practices, etc. Regarding the highly controversial question of media violations of privacy, the co-legislators chose to exclude them from the scope of the Regulation but called on the Commission to present a detailed study by the end of 2008.