Case law Developments in PIL

June 2021 at the Court of Justice of the European Union

In June 2021 the CJEU will rule on in two cases of interest for private international law.

On 3 June 2021, the decision on the request for a preliminary ruling from Bulgaria C-280/20, Generalno konsulstvo na Republika Bulgaria, will be delivered by the 8th Chamber (judges N. Wahl, F. Biltgen, J. Passer, with the latter as reporting judge).

The request concerns the action filed by a person who claims to be a worker against the Bulgarian Embassy in Valencia, Kingdom of Spain, for the payment of financial remuneration in respect of unused paid annual leave to which she claims to be entitled under the labour law of the Republic of Bulgaria. The referring court has doubts as to whether it has been seised of a dispute with a ‘cross-border implication’.

The judgment in C-800/19, Mittelbayerischer Verlag, from the Court of Appeal, Warsaw (Poland), will be published on Thursday 17th by the 1st Chamber, with Judge Silva de Lapuerta acting as reporting judge (J.C. Bonichot, R. Silva de Lapuerta, L. Bay Larsen, M. Safjan, N. Jääskinen).

For the record, here are the questions:

1) Should Article 7(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters 1 be interpreted as meaning that jurisdiction based on the centre-of-interests connecting factor is applicable to an action brought by a natural person for the protection of his personality rights in a case where the online publication cited as infringing those rights does n contain information relating directly or indirectly to that particular natural person, but contains, rather, information or statements suggesting reprehensible actions by the community to which the applicant belongs (in the circumstances of the case at hand: his nation), which the applicant regards as amounting to an infringement of his personality rights?

2) In a case concerning the protection of material and non-material personality rights against online infringement, is it necessary, when assessing the grounds of jurisdiction set out in Article 7(2) of Regulation [No 1215/2012], that is to say, when assessing whether a national court is the court for the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur, to take account of circumstances such as:

– the public to whom the website on which the infringement occurred is principally addressed;

– the language of the website and in which the publication in question is written;

– the period during which the online information in question remained accessible to the public;

– the individual circumstances of the applicant, such as the applicant’s wartime experiences and his current social activism, which are invoked in the present case as justification for the applicant’s special right to oppose, by way of judicial proceedings, the dissemination of allegations made against the community to which the applicant belongs?

AG Bobek delivered his Opinion on 23 February 2021. He proposed the Court to answer that :

1)  Article 7(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters must be interpreted as meaning that the establishment of the jurisdiction based on the centre of interests does not require that the allegedly harmful online content names a particular person.

2)   However, in order to establish jurisdiction pursuant to Article 7(2) of that regulation, a national court must verify that there is a close connection between that court and the action at issue, thus ensuring the sound administration of justice. In the particular context of online publications, the national court must ensure that, in view of the nature, content, and the scope of the specific online material, assessed and interpreted in its proper context, there is a reasonable degree of foreseeability of the potential forum in terms of the place where the damage resulting from such material may occur.

No other decisions nor Opinions are expected. As for hearings, the one in C-262/21 PPU, A, from the Supreme Court of Finland on the return of the child in application of the Hague Convention, is scheduled for 28 June. In the case at hand, a request had been made for the return to Sweden of a child who has been taken to Finland. The question that arises is whether the removal or retention of a child may be considered to be wrongful where one of the two parents, without the authorisation of the other, has removed the child from the State in which he was habitually resident to another Member State of the European Union after the immigration authority of the State of residence considered that it was in that other Member State that the applications for asylum concerning the child and the parent in question should be examined. I remember having studied myself the interfaces between the Dublin III Regulation and the Brussels II bis Regulation in 2017, although concentrating on the situation of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum (Cuadernos de Derecho Transnacional, open access). The case has been allocated to the 1st Chamber (J.C.  Bonichot, reporting judge ; C. Toader, M. Safjan, L. Bay Larsen, N. Jääskinen), and to G. Pitruzzella as Advocate General.

 

NoA: The Grand Chamber decision of 15 June 2021 regarding C-645/19, Facebook Ireland e.a., on the GDPR, will certainly be also of interest, even if not directly related to cooperation in civil and commercial matters in cross-border cases.  The request comes from the Hof van beroep te Brussel (Belgium), L.S. Rossi is the reporting judge, and AG Bobek delivered his Opinion last January.

Legal Secretary CJEU Full Professor PIL, University of La Laguna (Spain) Senior research fellow MPI Luxembourg (on leave)

1 comment on “June 2021 at the Court of Justice of the European Union

  1. Ľuboslav Sisák

    It is interesting that in the C-280/20 case, the referring Bulgarian court does not see a cross-border implication. Although the parties to the case are Bulgarian, one can hardly overlook that the employee carried out her work in Valencia, which is the seat of the employer (Bulgarian consulate). If carrying out work abroad is not a relevant cross-border element in an employment contract then I do not know what is.

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