AG Bobek on the Aarhus Convention and access to justice

AG Bobek delivered today his opinion in case C‑826/18 (LB, Stichting Varkens in Nood, Stichting Dierenrecht, Stichting Leefbaar Buitengebied v College van burgemeester en wethouders van de gemeente Echt-Susteren, joined parties: Sebava BV), which is about the Aarhus Convention and access to justice:

“(1) Article 6 of the Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters, signed in Aarhus on 25 June 1998 […], Article 6 of Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment […] and Article 24 of Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) confer full participation rights only to ‘the public concerned’ within the meaning of those instruments, but not to ‘the public’ at large.

(2) Neither Article 9(2) of the Aarhus Convention, nor Article 11 of Directive 2011/92, nor Article 25 of Directive 2010/75, nor Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, are opposed to the exclusion of ‘the public’ who do not fall within ‘the public concerned’ within the meaning of those instruments, from access to court.

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Provisional agreement on the new Evidence and Service Regulations

On the last day of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU, an important deal was concluded: “the Council Presidency and the European Parliament today reached a provisional agreement on two amended regulations, one on the taking of evidence and a second on the service of documents”.

Key points: “Changes in both regulations include the mandatory use of an electronic decentralised IT system, composed of interconnected national IT systems, for the transmission of documents and requests between member states. The draft regulations also task the Commission with the creation, maintenance and future development of a reference software which member states can choose to apply as their back end system, instead of a nationally-developed IT system.

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CJEU on Consumer Mediation

The Court of Justice delivered yesterday its judgment in case C‑380/19 (Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen und Verbraucherverbände — Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband eV v Deutsche Apotheker- und Ärztebank eG), which is about Directive 2013/11/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on consumer alternative dispute resolution:

“Article 13(1) and (2) of Directive 2013/11 […] are to be interpreted as meaning that a trader who provides in an accessible manner on his website the general terms and conditions of sales or service contracts, but concludes no contracts with consumers via that website, must provide in his general terms and conditions information about the ADR entity or ADR entities by which that trader is covered, when that trader commits to or is obliged to use that entity or those entities to resolve disputes with consumers. It is not sufficient in that respect that the trader either provides that information in other documents accessible on his website, or under other tabs thereof, or provides that information to the consumer in a separate document from the general terms and conditions, upon conclusion of the contract subject to those general terms and conditions”.

Source: here

Agreement on the first EU-wide rules on collective redress

Yesterday, EU Parliament and Council of the EU negotiators reached a deal on the first EU-wide rules on collective redress, which will take the form of a Directive to be implemented within the usual 2 years period.

Here is the official presentation of the rules: “The new rules introduce a harmonised model for representative action in all member states that guarantees consumers are well protected against mass harm, while at the same time ensuring appropriate safeguards from abusive lawsuits. The new law also aims to make the internal market function better by improving tools to stop illegal practices and facilitating access to justice for consumers”. […]

Main elements of the agreement:

At least one representative action procedure for injunction and redress measures should be available to consumers in every member state, allowing representative action at national and EU level;

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AG Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona on Article 3 Maintenance Regulation

AG Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona delivered yesterday his opinion in case C‑540/19 (WV v Landkreis Harburg), which is about the Maintenance Regulation. Should the opinion be endorsed by the Court of Justice, the decision will be of great practical importance. The opinion is currently available in all EU official languages (save Irish), albeit not in English. Here is the French version:

« L’article 3, sous b), du règlement (CE) no 4/2009 […] doit être interprété en ce sens qu’un organisme public qui a fourni des prestations d’aide sociale à un créancier d’aliments et qui s’est subrogé légalement dans la créance alimentaire peut réclamer cette dette à la personne qui est tenue de la payer, au moyen d’une action récursoire, devant les juridictions de l’État où le créancier a sa résidence habituelle ».

Source : here

AG Szpunar on Articles 24.1 and 7.1 Brussels I bis

AG Szpunar delivered yesterday his opinion in case C‑433/19 (Ellmes Property Services Limited v SP), which is about Brussels I bis. The opinion is currently available in all EU official languages (save Irish), albeit not in English. Here is the French version:

« 1) L’article 24, point 1 [Bruxelles I bis] doit être interprété en ce sens qu’une action d’un copropriétaire tendant à la cessation de l’usage touristique d’un appartement par un autre copropriétaire, au motif que cet usage ne correspond pas à celui convenu dans le contrat de copropriété, ne relève de cette disposition que si cet usage est opposable à l’égard de tous. Il appartient au juge national d’effectuer les ultimes vérifications à cet égard.

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International jurisdiction of the MS of enforcement on an application opposing enforcement of a maintenance decision

The Court of Justice delivered this week, on 4 June 2020, its judgment in case C‑41/19 (FX v GZ, represented for legal purposes by her mother), which is about the Maintenance Regulation.

Context: “By decision of the Sąd Okręgowy w Krakowie (Regional Court, Krakow, Poland) of 26 May 2009, FX was ordered to make monthly maintenance payments of around EUR 100 for the benefit of his daughter GZ, a minor, retroactively from June 2008.

20 Further to GZ’s application of 20 July 2016, the Amtsgericht Köln (Local Court, Cologne, Germany), by order of 27 July 2016, decided that an order for enforcement was to be issued in respect of the aforementioned decision of the Sąd Okręgowy w Krakowie (Regional Court, Krakow).

21 On the basis of that order declared enforceable, GZ, represented for legal purposes by her mother, initiated enforcement proceedings against FX in Germany. Challenging those proceedings, FX lodged before the Amtsgericht Köln (Local Court, Cologne) on 5 April 2018 an application opposing enforcement, pursuant to Paragraph 767 of the ZPO.

22 In support of his application, FX submits that the maintenance debt at issue in the main proceedings was discharged either directly until 2010 or, since December 2010, through the Maintenance Fund (Poland), to which FX claims to have reimbursed the sums paid to GZ to the extent of his financial capacity. FX maintains that, in any event, the debt has been predominantly settled”.

Issue: “The referring court has doubts, in the first place, as to whether the application opposing enforcement that FX lodged before it falls within its international jurisdiction.

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AG Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona on the relationship between Rome I and Directive 2018/957 (posting of workers)

AG Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona delivered today his opinion in case C‑620/18 (Hungary v European Parliament and Council of the European Union), which is about the relationship between Rome I and Directive (EU) 2018/957 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 June 2018 amending Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services. The opinion is available in all EU official languages (save Irish), albeit not in English. Here is the French version :

“VIII. Cinquième moyen : violation du principe de sécurité juridique en conséquence de l’incompatibilité de la directive 2018/957 avec le règlement Rome I

A. Position des parties

189. Le cinquième moyen comporte en réalité deux branches distinctes, sans grand rapport entre elles.

‐      D’une part, le gouvernement hongrois soutient que la directive 2018/957 est contraire au règlement Rome I ainsi qu’aux principes de sécurité juridique et de clarté normative, en ce qu’elle modifie l’application de ce règlement sans en altérer le libellé, ce qui engendre une incertitude juridique considérable quant à sa bonne application.

[…]

190. La Commission, le Conseil, le Parlement européen et les gouvernements des États membres intervenus à la procédure estiment que ce cinquième moyen n’est pas fondé.

B. Appréciation de la première branche du cinquième moyen : relation entre la directive 2018/957 et le règlement Rome I

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