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EU private international law on the law applicable to cross-border contracts involving weaker contracting parties: towards EU market integration?

PhD ceremony:Ms M. (María) Campo Comba
When:December 12, 2019
Supervisors:prof. mr. dr. M.H. (Mathijs) ten Wolde, prof. dr. R. Arenas García
Where:Academy building RUG

EU private international law (EU PIL) plays an important role regarding an effective functioning of the EU internal market and the development of an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. In the context of weaker contracting party protection, the EU has enacted numerous directives providing for substantive protective rules regarding contracts involving consumers, employees and other weaker parties. On the other hand, EU PIL provides conflict rules that determine the law applicable to cross-border contracts (Rome I Regulation on the law applicable to contractual obligations), including special rules regarding the aforementioned contracts. When, as a result of the conflict rules of the Rome I Regulation, a non-Member State law is applicable, the substantive protective rules of the respective EU directives are not applied. Therefore, both areas of law must be coordinated.

This study answers whether EU PIL and EU secondary law are well coordinated regarding the protection of weaker contracting parties and, when not, how can they achieve a mutual understanding. After analysing the different conflict rules that EU PIL (specifically, the Rome I Regulation) offers regarding the protection of weaker contracting parties, and their interaction with several EU directives, a call for a more EU-focused PIL method is made. This is, the difference between intra-EU and extra-EU situations regarding the application of EU directives protecting weaker contracting parties and involving EU mandatory law should be more reflected in the Rome I Regulation, and some text proposals are suggested in this regard.