Conflict of Laws in Contractual and Non-Contractual Obligations Recent EC Regulations on Conflict of Laws in Contractual and Non-Contractual Obligations (Rome I and Rome II Regulations) as Compared to United States Conflict of Laws and to Developments Worldwide Prof. Dr. Volker Behr, Augsburg
I look forward to seeing you and to discovering with you the ins and outs of the new European private international law (conflict of laws) in contractual and non-contractual obligations as compared to developments elsewhere. Globalized economy and global mobility of citizens more and more often create lawsuits which are no longer purely domestic. This is true notably to lawsuits based on contracts or torts. Economic reasons as well as the relevant systems of jurisdiction may induce or even necessitate suing or being sued abroad. Suing or being sued abroad (and even the choice of alternatively suing in a domestic court or abroad) implies considerations of jurisdiction and the applicable law based on conflict of laws rules of the relevant courts.
In the course of the next weeks we shall try to find out what are the recent developments in this area of the law. We will have one two hours classroom sessions per week, the first part mostly dedicated to contracts, the second part to non-contractual obligations. The classroom sessions will consist of a mixture of lectures, short statements of students (5 min. at max.) on specific topics, and discussions. Everybody should prepare at least one short statement and participate in the discussion. I shall ask for students who are willing to volunteer, and I hope that at the end of the course everybody will have had the opportunity to present at least one short statement.
Reading assignments should be completed before the respective classroom sessions. If you don’t prepare, you will not be able to follow the class discussions, and the discussions themselves will falter in case many of you are unprepared. I shall give reading assignments to be prepared to each specific session.
Materials to the course seem rather voluminous considering the short period of time of the course. However, there is no reason to be frightened. Quite a number of the documents will be used only in a very restricted way addressing just a few of the articles – as far as they are related to our main topic. I only added the documents full text instead of little morsels in order to give to those of you, who are specifically interested, an impression of what else is in store. In addition I add some scholarly writing – again not all of it to be prepared for classroom work.
Reading assignments will be restricted to those parts which are used within the course. So don’t be scared. It will be feasible.
As to the subject matter: This course will start with a short introduction to topics and problems of private international law and a (very brief) outline of jurisdictional bases within the European Union. As far as jurisdiction within the U.S. is concerned, some of you probably are more expert than I am. I shall only touch this topic. Probably at least some of you are taking the transnational litigation course as well, which focuses on jurisdiction.
This course then will try to line out the new developments of conflict of laws rules within the European Union as laid down in two recent EC regulations on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations (Rome I Regulation) and on the Law Applicable to Non-Contractual Obligations (Rome II Regulation). Rome I Regulation has entered into force by the end of 2009, while Rome II Regulation already is in force since January 2009. Those Regulations are the conflict of laws rules in all Member States of the European Union (except for Denmark). Hence, knowledge of these developments may be of special interest to lawyers interested in international business transactions. However, this course will not be restricted to European developments. Instead, it will try a comparative approach comparing recent developments in Europe and developments in the United States and elsewhere. Such comparison seems to be of actual interest taking into consideration that within the United States the Restatement 2d on Conflict of Laws seems to be somehow overage and a new Restatement is under discussion.
As you will see, European private international law of contractual and non-contractual obligations is based from 2009 on on EC- Regulations. Such Regulations are statutory law. Hence, emphasize will be laid on the interpretation of such Regulations. To this end you normally rely on courts’ decisions and scholarly writing. However, as Rome I and Rome II only recently entered into force there is practically no published case law available. Notably there is no case law of the European Court of Justice, which only decides when asked by national courts. Hence, we have to rely on what (little) scholarly writing in English language exists up to now and on some courts’ decisions of the European Court of justice concerning jurisdiction and eventually some Member State courts’ decisions concerning what is called the Rome Convention, which is the predecessor to Rome I.
Thanks, and I am looking forward to the beginning of the class and to meeting you.