RH v AB Volvo and Others.

JurisdictionEuropean Union
CourtCourt of Justice (European Union)
ECLIECLI:EU:C:2021:604
Docket NumberC-30/20
Celex Number62020CJ0030

Provisional text

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT (First Chamber)

15 July 2021 (*)

(Reference for a preliminary ruling – Judicial cooperation in civil matters – Jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters – Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 – Article 7(2) – Jurisdiction in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict – Place where the damage occurred – Cartel declared contrary to Article 101 TFEU and Article 53 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area – Determination of international and territorial jurisdiction – Centralisation of jurisdiction in favour of a specialised court)

In Case C‑30/20,

REQUEST for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU from the Juzgado de lo Mercantil n.º 2 de Madrid (Commercial Court No 2, Madrid, Spain), made by decision of 23 December 2019, received at the Court on 22 January 2020, in the proceedings

RH

v

AB Volvo,

Volvo Group Trucks Central Europe GmbH,

Volvo Lastvagnar AB,

Volvo Group España SA,

THE COURT (First Chamber),

composed of J.-C. Bonichot, President of the Chamber, L. Bay Larsen, C. Toader, M. Safjan (Rapporteur) and N. Jääskinen, Judges,

Advocate General: J. Richard de la Tour,

Registrar: A. Calot Escobar,

having regard to the written procedure,

after considering the observations submitted on behalf of:

– AB Volvo, Volvo Group Trucks Central Europe GmbH, Volvo Lastvagnar AB and Volvo Group España SA, by R. Murillo Tapia and N. Gómez Bernardo, abogados,

– the Spanish Government, by S. Centeno Huerta and J. Rodríguez de la Rúa Puig, acting as Agents,

– the French Government, by A.-L. Desjonquères, N. Vincent and A. Daniel, acting as Agents,

– the Netherlands Government, by M. Bulterman and J. Langer, acting as Agents,

– the European Commission, by M. Heller and C. Urraca Caviedes, acting as Agents,

after hearing the Opinion of the Advocate General at the sitting on 22 April 2021,

gives the following

Judgment

1 This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 7(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (OJ 2012 L 351, p. 1).

2 The request has been made in proceedings between RH, of the one part, and AB Volvo, Volvo Group Trucks Central Europe GmbH, Volvo Lastvagnar AB et Volvo Group España SA, of the other, concerning the payment of damages for the loss sustained by RH as a result of the anti-competitive practices of the defendant companies in the main proceedings, which were penalised by the European Commission under Article 101 TFEU and Article 53 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area of 2 May 1992 (OJ 1994 L 1, p.3, ‘the EEA Agreement’).

Legal context

3 Recitals 15, 16 and 34 of Regulation No 1215/2012 are worded as follows:

‘(15) The rules of jurisdiction should be highly predictable and founded on the principle that jurisdiction is generally based on the defendant’s domicile. Jurisdiction should always be available on this ground save in a few well-defined situations in which the subject matter of the dispute or the autonomy of the parties warrants a different connecting factor. The domicile of a legal person must be defined autonomously so as to make the common rules more transparent and avoid conflicts of jurisdiction.

(16) In addition to the defendant’s domicile, there should be alternative grounds of jurisdiction based on a close connection between the court and the action or in order to facilitate the sound administration of justice. The existence of a close connection should ensure legal certainty and avoid the possibility of the defendant being sued in a court of a Member State which he could not reasonably have foreseen. This is important, particularly in disputes concerning non-contractual obligations arising out of violations of privacy and rights relating to personality, including defamation.

(34) Continuity between the Convention [of 27 September 1968 on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (OJ 1972 L 299, p. 32)], [Council] Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 [of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (OJ 2001 L 12, p. 1)] and this Regulation should be ensured, and transitional provisions should be laid down to that end. The same need for continuity applies as regards the interpretation by the Court of Justice of the European Union of [that 1968 convention] and of the Regulations replacing it.’

4 Chapter II of Regulation No 1215/2012, entitled ‘Jurisdiction’, contains, inter alia, Section 1 entitled ‘General provisions’ and Section 2 entitled ‘Special jurisdiction’. Article 4(1) of that regulation, which is included in Section 1, provides:

‘Subject to this Regulation, persons domiciled in a Member State shall, whatever their nationality, be sued in the courts of that Member State.’

5 Article 5(1) of Regulation No 1215/2012, also included in Section 1, provides:

‘Persons domiciled in a Member State may be sued in the courts of another Member State only by virtue of the rules set out in Sections 2 to 7 of this Chapter.’

6 Article 7 of Regulation No 1215/2012, which is included in Section 2 of Chapter II of that regulation, states:

‘A person domiciled in a Member State may be sued in another Member State:

(1) (a) in matters relating to a contract, in the courts for the place of performance of the obligation in question;

(2) in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict, in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur;

…’

The dispute in the main proceedings and the question referred for a preliminary ruling

7 RH is an undertaking domiciled in Cordoba (Spain), where between 2004 and 2009 it purchased five trucks from a Volvo Group España dealer. The first of those trucks was initially the subject of a leasing agreement before being purchased by RH in 2008.

8 On 19 July 2016, the Commission adopted decision C(2016) 4673 final relating to a proceeding...

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