27th Jul 2010
The court was required to determine, as a preliminary issue, whether Regulation 864/2007 applied to a claim by the claimant (H) for personal injury against the defendant insurance company (G).
The claim arose out of an injury sustained in a road traffic accident in France on August 29, 2007. Judgment was entered for H with damages to be assessed.
H contended that the Regulation did not apply to events before January 11, 2009 as that was the date referred to in art.32 and should be regarded as the date specified for the entry into force of the Regulation. H submitted that if that contention was not accepted, the Regulation only applied to proceedings commenced on or after that date. G submitted that the Regulation applied to the determination by a court on or after January 11, 2009 of liability that arose from events occurring on or after the coming into force of the Regulation. G argued that since the Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on July 31, 2007, in the absence of a specified date for entry into force, the Regulation entered into force on August 20, 2007.
There was no judicial decision on the temporal scope of the Regulation and, in order to answer the preliminary issue, it was necessary to have the interpretation of the ECJ of art.31 and art.32. The wording in art.32 contained no reference to the commencement or determination of legal proceedings. There was no reason why the Regulation should only apply where legal proceedings had been commenced or were determined by the court. Where a tort was alleged the parties would frequently seek to reach a settlement before commencing proceedings. They needed to know whether the Regulation applied to the calculation of damages at issue. The objectives of the requirement of legal certainty and that uniform rules should enhance the foreseeability of court decisions' would not be achieved if the application of the Regulation was to depend on the date of issue of proceedings, or the date of determination by the court of an issue regarding its application. The application date of January 11, 2009 referred to in art.32 was not a reference to the commencement or determination of legal proceedings.
Question referred to ECJ.
The court referred to the ECJ questions on the interpretation of Regulation 864/2007 art.31 and art.32 in order for the court to determine whether the Regulation applied to a claim for damages for personal injury.
Read the judgment here.