Articles Developments in PIL Scholarship

An Outsider’s View of the Brussels Ia, Rome I, and Rome II Regulations

Symeon Symeonides (Alex L. Parks Distinguished Professor of Law at Willamette University – College of Law) has made available on SSRN a draft of his paper on An Outsider’s View of the Brussels Ia, Rome I, and Rome II Regulations that is being published on Lex & Forum in 2023.

The abstract of the article reads as follows:

This is an invited essay for a conference on “European Private International and Procedural Law and Third Countries” that was held in Greece on September 29, 2022. It focuses on certain aspects of three European Union “Regulations,” which have “federalized” the Private International Law or Conflict of Laws of the Member-States: (1) the “Brussels Ia” Regulation on Jurisdiction and Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters of 2012; (2) the “Rome I” Regulation on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations of 2008; and (3) The “Rome II” Regulation on the Law Applicable to Non Contractual Obligations of 2007.
The first part of the essay criticizes the discriminatory treatment of defendants domiciled outside the EU by Brussels Ia, and its lack of deference toward the exclusive jurisdiction rules of third countries or toward choice-of-court agreements choosing the courts of third countries. It praises the Brussels Ia provisions on lis pendens and its protection of consumers and employees against unfavorable pre-dispute choice-of-court agreements.
The second part praises the protection Rome I provides for consumers and employees against unfavorable choice-of-law agreements, but also explains why the protection provided for passengers and insureds is often ineffective. It criticizes the lack of protection for other weak parties in commercial contracts, such as franchises, and explains how an article of Rome II that allows pre-dispute choice-of-law agreements for non-contractual claims in those contracts exacerbates this problem.
The third part of the essay criticizes the way in which Rome II resolves cross-border torts other than environmental torts, especially cross-border violations of human rights. It proposes a specific amendment to the relevant article of Rome II and argues that this amendment will provide better solutions not only in human rights cases but also in other conflicts arising from cross-border torts.

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