Uniform interpretation of EU jurisdiction rules in jeopardy? Interaction of specialised conventions with the Brussels I Regime and the mutation of TNT v AXA

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Abstract

In the recent case of BAT v Exel the English courts had to reassess the interaction between international transport conventions and EU law in deciding on their jurisdiction. The question was whether and how the jurisdictional rules of the road carriage convention, the CMR, could be supplemented by those of the Brussels I Regulation. The importation of the EU jurisdictional rules, it was argued by the claimant, was the consequence of the European Court of Justice’s ruling in TNT v AXA. This reasoning highlights the dangerous lacuna left by the ruling, potentially leading to many different mutations of TNT in the Member States. An introduction of uncertainty as to which courts have international jurisdiction is however unlikely to have been the aim of the Court of Justice of the European Union and should be avoided by using the tools available. The article argues that the lack of guidance by the European Court, which the English Court of Appeal decision in BAT v Exel exemplifies, has since been somewhat alleviated by the Court’s ruling in Nipponkoa v Inter-Zuid and by the Recast Regulation. Member States courts are urged to submit preliminary rulings should they intend to supplement or override a specialised convention’s jurisdictional rules, to enable the development of an EU-wide uniform approach, rather than that of a multitude of versions in the Member States.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442 - 458
Number of pages17
JournalJFT, Tidskrift utgiven av Juridiska Föreningen i Finland
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

Keywords

  • Jurisdiction in international carriage
  • Brussels I Regulation
  • CMR
  • Specialised Conventions

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