Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Peter Stone and Youseph Farah
Chapter 6: Article 4 of the Rome I Regulation on the applicable law in the absence of choice – methodological analysis, considerations
Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No. 593/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations (Rome I) comprises the general conflict rules on contracts which are applicable to the extent that the applicable law has not been chosen in accordance with Article 3 of the Regulation. Thus, with the exception of the types of contract governed by Articles 5 to 8, Article 4 is applied either when the parties did not make a valid choice-of-law agreement or the issue is uncovered by their partial choice-of-law agreement. The existence of the third and fourth paragraphs of Article 4 is the proof of the existence of the principle of proximity. These two paragraphs clearly indicate that the foregoing paragraphs of Article 4 (paragraphs 1 and 2) are based on the idea of the closest connection. In fact, it is clearly stated that, if ‘it is clear from all the circumstances of the case that the contract is manifestly more closely connected with a country other than that indicated in paragraphs 1 or 2, the law of that other country shall apply’; and if ‘the law applicable cannot be determined pursuant to paragraphs 1 or 2, the contract shall be governed by the law of the country with which it is most closely connected’ (emphasis added).
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