Choice of Law in Consumer Contracts: Article 6 (2) Rome I Regulation and the Dutch Judge: artikel 6 lid 2 Rome I-Verordening en de Nederlandse rechter

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Abstract

Party autonomy has been a widely accepted principle of private international law ever since the Rome Convention. Yet, the right to choose the applicable law is often restricted when weaker parties are involved. According to Article 6(2) Rome I Regulation, the parties to a consumer contract may choose the applicable law provided that this choice does not deprive ‘the consumer of the protection afforded to him’ by the objectively applicable law (the law of his habitual place of residence). In the Netherlands, academic opinion is still divided on the issue of how ‘ deprived of protection’ should be interpreted. Some argue that the objectively applicable law trumps the chosen law, even if the latter is more beneficial for the consumer. Others want to apply the law that better protects the consumer – regardless of whether it is the chosen or the objectively applicable law. This question goes hand in hand with a (possibly complex) legal comparison between both systems of law. How this comparison needs to be exercised is unclear. Delving deeply into Dutch case law shows that Dutch judges do not have a ‘ joined approach’. This paper uses a case study to illustrate that following a certain approach when applying Article 6(2) Rome I can alter the level of protection that the consumer enjoys. A lack of guidance from the European Court of Justice could be at fault here; and national courts should refer a question as to the ‘right way’ of applying Article 6(2) Rome I to the Court.
Translated title of the contributionChoice of Law in Consumer Contracts: Article 6 (2) Rome I Regulation and the Dutch Judge
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)507-531
Number of pages25
JournalNederlands Internationaal Privaatrecht
Volume2021
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2021

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