- Elgar European Law series
Chapter 3: Domicile
The principal connecting-factor used by Chapter II of the Brussels I Regulation is the defendant's domicile at the institution of the proceedings. In the revised version the basic rules on direct jurisdiction are laid down by Articles 4–6. Where the defendant is domiciled in a Member State, Article 4 confers jurisdiction on the courts of that State, and Article 5 deprives the courts of the other Member States of jurisdiction. Where the defendant is not domiciled in any Member State, Article 6 remits the jurisdiction of the courts of each Member State to the law of the State whose court is seised. These basic rules are subject to the exceptions specified in the remaining provisions of Chapter II. In this context Recitals 13 and 14 to the revised version of the Regulation explain that common rules on jurisdiction should, in principle, apply when the defendant is domiciled in a Member State; and that a defendant not domiciled in a Member State should in general be subject to national rules of jurisdiction applicable in the territory of the Member State of the court seised. Recitals 15 and 16 add that the rules of jurisdiction should be highly predictable and founded on the principle that jurisdiction is generally based on the defendant’s domicile; that jurisdiction should always be available on this ground save in a few well-defined situations in which the subject matter of the dispute or the autonomy of the parties warrants a different connecting factor; that, in addition to the defendant's domicile, there should be alternative grounds of jurisdiction based on a close connection between the court and the action or in order to facilitate the sound administration of justice; and that the existence of a close connection should ensure legal certainty and avoid the possibility of the defendant being sued in a court of a Member State which he could not reasonably have foreseen.
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