Case law Developments in PIL

May 2023 at the Court of Justice of the European Union

In May 2023, the Court will decide on C-264/22, Fonds de Garantie des Victimes des Actes de Terrorisme and d’Autres Infractions. The decision is expected on 16 May.

The request for a preliminary ruling from the Tribunal da Relação de Lisboa (Portugal) concerns the interpretation of the Rome II Regulation. It was lodged in April 2022.

A French citizen was hit by a boat at Alvor Beach (Portugal) in 2020; as a result, he suffered serious bodily injuries and underwent a number of medical treatments. He sued in France the Fonds de Garantie des Victimes des Actes de Terrorisme et d’Autres Infractions, in its capacity as the French body which covers, inter alia, compensation due for accidents, claiming compensation for the damage suffered. The parties agreed compensation of EUR 229 480.73.

The civil liability of the boat’s owner was insured by Victoria Seguros, S.A., the defendant in the Portuguese proceedings, where the Fonds de Garantie des Victimes des Actes de Terrorisme et d’Autres Infractions seeks an order that the defendant must reimburse to the applicant the abovementioned amount paid. According to the applicant, Portuguese law should apply in relation to the accident and the obligation to pay compensation, and French law should apply in relation to the rules on the limitation period and the calculation of time limits, as is apparent from Article 19 of the Rome II Regulation. In its defence, the defendant put forward a substantive plea that the claim is time-barred. As regards the merits, it denied many of the facts relating to the accident and claimed that the action should be dismissed.

The national court considers it necessary to decide whether French law is applicable (in accordance with which the limitation period for the right claimed has not expired), or whether, in the alternative, if it is decided to apply Portuguese law, the right has not lapsed either, in view of the date of the last payment to the injured party. In this context, the national court is referring the Court of Justice of the EU the following question for a preliminary ruling:

Is the law applicable to the limitation rules for the right to claim compensation that of the place of the accident (Portuguese law), in accordance with Articles 4(l) and 15(h) of [the Rome II Regulation], or, if the injured party’s place is taken by subrogation, is the ‘law of the third person’ subrogee (French law) applicable in accordance with Article 19 of that Regulation?

The decision will be taken by a chamber of three judges (L.S. Rossi, J.C. Bonichot, O. Spineanu-Matei as reporting judge). The opinion of an advocate general was not requested.

Legal Secretary CJEU Full Professor PIL University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) Senior research fellow MPI Luxembourg (on leave) Usual disclaimer applies

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