Private International LawTourism Electronic ContractsDra. Silvia Feliu Álvarez de Sotomayor IFFTA Europe Workshop April 2009
Tourism Electronic ContractsInternational contracts -CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CONTRACT: A) PROFESSIONAL (SELLER) DOMICILE IN A MEMBER STATE DIFFERENT THAN TOURIST HABITUAL RESIDENCE OR DOMICILE B) ELECTRONIC CONTRACT: -B2B: contracts of carriage -B2C: package travel -CONSEQUENCES: 1- CROSS-BORDER CLAIMS: JURISDICTION OR ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION? 2- APPLICABLE LAW: SOFT LAW/HARD LAW?
Cross-border Consumer Claims • CLAIM WITH INTERNATIONAL CONTENT (within European Union States)? European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) For example: Spanish European Consumer Centre (CEC) a) Claims coming from Spanish citizens who have bought goods or hired services in any country belonging to the EU other than Spain. b) Claims coming from EU citizens (non-Spanish citizens) who have bought goods or hired services in Spain. • CLAIM WITHOUT INTERNATIONAL CONTENT: National Consumer Authorities in the consumer country
Cross-border Consumer Claims ECC-NET a) First solution: Consumer experts contact the suppliers and mediate between them and the users b) Second solution: Alternative Resolution systems c) Third solution: legal proceedings
Cross-border Consumer Claims -Alternative Resolution systems- 1º) ADR database: names and contact details of the bodies responsible and which Member States and EEA countries consider to be in conformity with the Commission Recommendations 98/257/CE and 2001/310/CE 2º) European Consumer Centres provide consumers with information about the procedures involved and can help them to access such bodies in another country Advantage of ADR? -Flexibility, cheaper, quicker and more informal than Courts -Self regulation
Cross-border Consumer Claims-Legal proceedings- 1- JURISDICTION: Regulation (EC) Nº 44/2001: B2B/B2C 2- APPLICABLE LAW: Regulation (EC) Nº 593/2008: B2B/B2C 3- RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT: Regulation (EC) Nº 44/2001
Jurisdiction B2CPackage travel Article 15 R.44/2001: B2C DEFINITION 1.In matters relating to a contract concluded by a person, the consumer, for a purpose which can be regarded as being outside his trade or profession, jurisdiction shall be determined by this Section,[…], if: (a) it is a contract for the sale of goods on instalment credit terms; or (b) it is a contract for a loan repayable by instalments, or for any other form of credit, made to finance the sale of goods; or (c) in all other cases, the contract has been concluded with a person who pursues commercial or professional activities in the Member State of the consumer's domicile or, by any means (=INTERNET), directs such activities to that Member State or to several States including that Member State, and the contract falls within the scope of such activities.
Jurisdiction B2CPackage travel Article 15 R.44/2001: B2C DEFINITION 2. […] 3. This Section shall not apply to a contract of transport other than a contract which, for an inclusive price provides for a combination of travel and accommodation B2C = Package travel B2B = Contract of transport
Jurisdiction B2CPackage travel Article 16 R.44/2001 1. A consumer may bring proceedings against the other party: -in the courts of the Member State in which that party is domiciled -or in the courts for the place where the consumer is domiciled 2. Proceedings may be brought against a consumer: -only in the courts of the Member State in which the consumer is domiciled 3. This Article shall not affect the right to bring a counter-claim in the court in which, in accordance with this Section, the original claim is pending
Jurisdiction B2CPackage travel Article 17 R.44/2001 The provisions of this Section may be departed from only by an agreement: • which is entered into after the dispute has arisen; • […] • […] Case Study: See General Conditions Web Site
Jurisdiction B2CPackage travel 1º- Agreement of the parties (after the dispute has arisen) 2º- Courts of the Member State in which seller is domiciled Courts for the place where the consumer is domiciled option of the consumer plaintiff
Applicable Law: B2CPackage travel Art. 6 Regulation (EC) Nº 593/2008 1-the parties may choose the law applicable to a contract but such a choice may not have the result of depriving the consumer of the protection afforded to him by provisions that cannot be derogated from by agreement by virtue of the law which, in the absence of choice, would have been applicable. 2- law of the country where the consumer has his habitual residence Case study: package travel, package holidays and package tours are consumer contracts (art. 6.4. b)
Jurisdiction B2BContracts of carriage 1- Prorrogation of jurisdiction(art. 23 and 24 R.44/2001) 2-Courts for the place of performance of the obligation (Art 5.1 R. 44/2001) : A person domiciled in a Member State may, in another Member State, be sued: 1. (a) in matters relating to a contract, in the courts for the place of performance of the obligation in question; (b) for the purpose of this provision and unless otherwise agreed, the place of performance of the obligation in question shall be: • in the case of the sale of goods, the place in a Member State where, under the contract, the goods were delivered or should have been delivered, • in the case of the provision of services, the place in a Member State where, under the contract, the services were provided or should have been provided
Jurisdiction B2BContracts of carriage Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal Convention) Artículo 33. Jurisdicción An action for damages must be brought, at the option of the plaintiff, in the territory of one of the States Parties, either before the court of the domicile of the carrier or of its principal place of business, or where it has a place of business through which the contract has been made or before the court at the place of destination. In respect of damage resulting from the death or injury of a passenger, an action may be brought before one of the courts mentioned in paragraph 1 of this Article, or in the territory of a State Party in which at the time of the accident the passenger has his or her principal and permanent residence and to or from which the carrier operates services for the carriage of passengers by air, either on its own aircraft, or on another carrier's aircraft pursuant to a commercial agreement, and in which that carrier conducts its business of carriage of passengers by air from premises leased or owned by the carrier itself or by another carrier with which it has a commercial agreement.
Applicable Law: B2BContracts of carriage • Art. 5 Regulation (EC) Nº 593/2008 1-THE PARTIES MAY CHOOSETHE LAW APPLICABLE TO A CONTRACT FOR THE CARRIAGE OF PASSENGERS ONLY THE LAW OF THE COUNTRY WHERE: a) THE PASSENGER HAS HIS HABITUAL RESIDENCE; OR b) THE CARRIER HAS HIS HABITUAL RESIDENCE; OR c) THE CARRIER HAS HIS PLACE OF CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION; OR d) THE PLACE OF DEPARTURE IS SITUATED; OR e) THE PLACE OF DESTINATION IS SITUATED 2- LAW OF THE COUNTRY WHERE THE PASSENGER HAS HIS HABITUAL RESIDENCE, PROVIDED THAT EITHER THE PLACE OF DEPARTURE OR THE PLACE OF DESTINATION IS SITUATED IN THAT COUNTRY 3- LAW OF THE COUNTRY WHERE THE CARRIER HAS HIS HABITUAL RESIDENCE 4- WHERE IT IS CLEAR FROM ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE THAT THE CONSTRACT IS MANIFESTLY MORE CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH OTHER COUNTRY, THE LAW OF THAT OTHER COUNTRY SHALL APPLY
International ClaimsJurisdiction Recognition (Art. 33 R.44/2001): 1. A judgment given in a Member State shall be recognised in the other Member States without any special procedure being required. Enforcement (Art. 38 R.44/2001)
CONCLUSIONSInternational ClaimsTourism Electronic Contracts 1. Legal Proceedings = Jurisdiction + Applicable Law + Recognition and Enforcement = too complicate for tourism electronic contracts claims 2. Alternative Dispute Resolution= Flexibility, cheaper, quicker and more informal than Courts + Self regulation = Adequate for tourism electronic contracts claims!!