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European conflict rules concerning international online consumer contracts1

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With the drawing up of--what finally became--the Regulation (EC) 44/2001 of the Council of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgements in civil and commercial matters, there had already been a fierce debate in Europe on whether special private international rules for online consumer contracts were necessary and desirable. Although it was decided in favour of special jurisdiction rules which expressly include international online consumer contracts, as for applicable law the discussion is still unsettled, with the prospect of a revised Rome Convention of 1980. This article argues that the European legislator should provide legal certainty with respect to the applicability of European conflict rules to international online consumer contracts in the sense that the scope of especially article 5 of the Rome Convention--and thus the protection it provides to consumers--should explicitly be extended to such contracts, and at the same time leaves room for online suppliers to explicitly restrict their online offer(s) to consumers in certain countries or to professionals in order to control the applicable law risk.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Center for Law, Public Administration and Information, Tilberg University, The Netherlands.

Publication date: 2003-06-01

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