The Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations (England and Wales and Northern Ireland) Regulations 2009 transpose the EU's Rome I Regulation which came into operation on 17th December 2009.
This instrument lays down uniform choice of law rules in relation to claims in contract.
Rome I Regulation
The Regulations implement Regulation (EC) 593/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council (the so-called “Rome I Regulation”) which came into operation on 17th December 2009. This instrument lays down uniform choice of law rules in relation to claims in contract.
The aim of these uniform rules is that, where a contract falls within the scope of application of Rome I, the same national law of contract will generally be applied by the courts in all the Member States of the EU (except Denmark where Rome I will not apply).
The regulations are relevant to any online organisation selling to consumers.
The Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations (England and Wales and Northern Ireland) Regulations 2009 modify the relevant current legislation in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. This includes the Contracts (Applicable Law) Act 1990. That Act was enacted in order to enable the United Kingdom to ratify the 1980 Rome Convention on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations (to which the United Kingdom and all the other Member States of the EU are parties). After the commencement of Rome I this Act and this Convention will only apply to contracts concluded before the commencement of Rome I.
The Regulations are applied in Scotland by The Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations (Scotland) Regulations 2009
Rome I introduces a new rule that the law of the country of the consumer’s habitual residence apply to all B2C contracts. This is based upon a ‘targeting’ test based on whether the online supplier, by any means, directs its commercial or professional activities to the consumer’s home country or to several countries including that country. This is similar to the test in the existing Brussels I Regulation on Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Contracts (See The Civil Jurisdiction & Judgments Order 2001). Recital (24) of Rome I calls for the concept of targeted activity to be interpreted harmoniously in the two instruments.
Supervision and enforcement