Books Developments in PIL Scholarship

Negotiorum gestio – The Unchartered Territory of EU PIL

The rules on negotorium gestio in Article 11 Rome II Regulation have received little attention so far and are rarely well understood. Jonas Fritsch has written a PhD thesis on them, in which he compares the different legal systems of the Member States and examines in detail the connecting factors of Article 11 Rome II. He has kindly provided the following summary:

Negotiorum gestio is a concept that can be described as multifaceted. Whilst in Germany it is subject to many controversial discussions in academia, other Member States of the EU barely know it. In any case, its scope is vague. This is why the EU’s ambition to create a uniform conflict of laws rule was described by the Hamburg Group for Private International Law as “a bold attempt”. The presented thesis sheds light on the end product of EU’s work by analyzing in particular Article 11 of EU’s Rome II Regulation. This provision is interpreted in detail and considered in the context of the other provisions of EU’s regulatory framework.

The analysis is preceded by a section deemed to create a methodological foundation for the later work. Here, for example, the question is addressed as to whether in European law a distinction must be made between “mere” interpretation and further development of the law (so-called “Rechtsfortbildung”). Whilst the CJEU does not differentiate between both concepts of methodology, it is shown that they differ considerably. For this reason, the author opts for identifying a legal finding that goes beyond mere interpretation and applying the appropriate methods to this. By referencing the discussion in German academia, it is shown that it is no longer a matter of “mere” interpretation when the law’s wording is exceeded.

On this basis, Article 11 Rome II is examined. Here, selected legal systems (in particular Germany, Austria, France, Spain and Italy) are studied with regard to their view on negotiorum gestio. From this, conclusions are drawn on the scope of application of Article 11 Rome II. At the end it becomes clear that the provision’s scope includes all claims that arise when a person (the intervenor) intervenes in the affairs of a third party (the principal), does not (exclusively) act in his or her own interest and is not obliged to do so.

Subsequently, the connecting factors provided for in Article 11 Rome II are analyzed. Particularly neuralgic is Article 11(3) Rome II. The “country in which the act was performed” is difficult to identify in some cases as there is uncertainty about the meaning of the term “act”. This causes problems, for example, when the actions of the intervenor are locally distinct from their effects – additional examples are presented in the book. It is demonstrated that Article 11(3) Rome II can be directly applied only if the intervenor’s actions immediately coincide with an interference with absolutely protected rights (such as body integrity or property) or the principal’s unpaid obligations (i. e. payment of the principal’s debts). In all other cases, the purpose (or “telos”) underlying Article 11(3) Rome II is missed. This is why the author states that Rome II contains an unconscious lacuna in this regard: It can be assumed that the European legislator intended to regulate all cases of negotiorum gestio; however, it has not been able to consider all possible constellations. This lacuna needs to be filled and this should be done by applying the law of the place where the specific interest of the principal is located; this constitutes a neutral connecting factor and is thus in line with the telos of Article 11(3) Rome II. Stating this, the author also mentions that other scholars might disagree with the presented way of solution and rather refer to the escape clause contained in Article 11(4) Rome II to handle those cases. However, he points to the uncertainties regarding the proper application of the escape clause and that it does not apply here on the basis of the proper understanding.

Finally, the European civil procedural law and the qualification of claims arising out of negotiorum gestio are discussed. The thesis reveals that such claims are subject to the jurisdiction according to Article 7 No. 2 Brussels Ibis and cannot be qualified contractually”.

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