Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Peter Stone and Youseph Farah
Chapter 9: The interaction between Rome I and mandatory EU private rules – EPIL and EPL: communicating vessels?
The Rome I Regulation on the applicable law to contractual obligations co-exists with a still expanding body of EU rules on various aspects of contract law. A specific question that has been raised during the negotiations on the Rome I Regulation is how this instrument relates to substantive EU consumer law in view of the desired coherence of consumer protection. Pursuant to Article 27(1)(b) Rome I this issue should be explicitly addressed in the evaluating report that was due mid-2013 but as to date has not been released. This chapter will not be confined to consumer law, but will take a more general approach to the interaction between Rome I and (substantive) mandatory EU rules in the field of private law. The question is in how far European private international law (EPIL), in particular Rome I, and European private law (EPL) are communicating vessels. The well-known and often commented upon Ingmar ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (hereafter the European Court), rendered in 2000, for the first time revealed the tension between private international law and substantive EPL. In relation to an agency contract between a Californian principal and an English agent, the European Court ruled that the parties’ choice of Californian law (valid under English private international law) could not evade mandatory provisions of the Agency Directive. This seems to be a clear triumph of mandatory EPL.
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