Thursday, 17 October 2013

The existence of a causal link is not a condition for consumer protection - CJEU judgment in Case C-218/12 Emrek

Today, the Court of Justice of the EU handed down its judgment in Case C-218/12 Emrek. For a description of the facts of the case and AG Cruz Villalón's opinion, I refer to an earlier post on this blog ('The missing link').

The Court follows the AG and observes that:

'it must be held that the requirement of prior consultation of the Internet site by the consumer could give rise to problems of proof, in particular in cases where the contract was not concluded at a distance through that site, as in the main proceedings. In such a situation, difficulties related to proof of the existence of a causal link between the means used to direct the activity, that is an Internet site, and the conclusion of a contract, would tend to dissuade consumers from bringing actions before the national courts under Articles 15 and 16 of Regulation No 44/2001 and would weaken the protection of consumers which those provisions seek to achieve.' (para. 25)

Accordingly, the Court holds that:

'Article 15(1)(c) of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters must be interpreted as meaning that that it does not require the existence of a causal link between the means employed to direct the commercial or professional activity to the Member State of the consumer’s domicile. However, the existence of such a causal link constitutes evidence of the connection between the contract and such activity.'

See also the CJEU's press release on the case.