Civil Procedure Law (European Union)

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The international civil procedure law or the international civil procedure law (of the member states of the European Union ) has been standardized by several regulations and can then be referred to as European civil procedure law. These are especially the Brussels I (or Brussels I Regulation called) and the Brussels IIa Regulation for International jurisdiction which Regulation (EC) no. 805/2004 on the European Enforcement Order , the Regulation (EC) no. 1896/2006 on the European order for payment procedure , Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007 on the service of documents, Regulation (EC) No. 1206/2001 on the taking of evidence, the provisions on the European small claims procedure and Regulation (EU) No. 655 / 2014 on the cross-border provisional attachment of accounts.

The EuGVVO was amended on January 10, 2015 by Regulation (EU) No. 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 12, 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (OJ L 351 , P. 1, in short "Brussels Ia Regulation") replaced and repealed.

Cognitive process

International jurisdiction

The international jurisdiction determines which courts of which state have to decide a legal dispute.

Civil and commercial matters: EuGVVO


The European Jurisdiction and Enforcement Ordinance EuGVVO , also known as Brussels-I-VO , is applicable if its material, spatial-personal and temporal scope is opened. In fact , the scope of application is opened if, according to Art. 1 Para. 1 EuGVVO, there is a civil or commercial matter; what is a civil and commercial matter is not to be determined according to the lex fori , but by regulation, so that the application of the regulation is uniform across Europe. In terms of time , the ordinance applies to all actions brought after March 1, 2002 ( Art. 66 (1), Art. 76 EuGVVO). From Art. 2 to Art. 4 EuGVVO it follows that the prerequisite for the spatial and personal scope of application is that the defendant is domiciled in a member state of the EU. For companies and legal entities, the place of residence is determined in Art. 63 EuGVVO as their statutory seat, alternatively as their head office.

In consumer matters , Art. 17 EuGVVO f. the spatial and personal scope of the regulation is extended if the defendant does not have a registered office but has an establishment in a Member State. The term “consumer matter” is defined in Art. 15 para. 1 EuGVVO: All commercial activities are objectively covered ( Art. 15 para. 1 lit. c EuGVVO), in personal terms a consumer must have concluded a business with an entrepreneur. Finally, Art. 15 EuGVVO requires that the dispute is from a branch, agency or other branch. The ECJ has specified the requirement of a branch office in so far as the institution in question 1. must represent a center of business activity and 2. must appear to the outside world as a branch of its foreign headquarters. With the judgment of December 7, 2010, the ECJ specified that the mere use of a website by a trader does not in itself lead to the application of the rules of jurisdiction of the Brussels I Regulation, which serve to protect consumers in other Member States. The European Court of Justice has thus specified the EU rules on jurisdiction for consumer contracts in cases in which services are offered on the Internet.

General place of jurisdiction

The principle of actor sequitur forum rei also applies in the European rules of jurisdiction. Apart from exceptions due to exclusive competencies and for reasons of consumer protection, acc. Art. 2 can always be sued at the place of residence of the defendant. In the case of natural persons, Art. 59 refers to the lex fori ; in the case of legal persons, the Ordinance itself specifies in Art. 60 that it can be the location of the statutory seat, the main administration or the main establishment.

Special places of jurisdiction

Further responsibilities result from Art. 5–7

  • ratione materiae: For contractual obligations, legal action can also be taken at the place of performance , for tort at the location of the damaging event.
  • for reasons of procedural links in a lawsuit against several people, in warranty and intervention lawsuits , counterclaims and in the connection of lawsuits arising from contractual claims with rights in rem to immovable property.
  • In addition, a company can always be sued at the place of residence of its branches.
  • The special place of jurisdiction for the unlawful act is basically judged according to the mosaic theory .
Insurance, consumer and employment contracts

Most of the provisions of the ordinance on international jurisdiction serve to protect the typically weaker part of the contract. The provisions of Art. 8–21, with the exception of the settlement rule, supersede the general responsibilities of Art. 2–7 and only allow deviating agreements on the place of jurisdiction in exceptional cases. Policyholders and consumers have the opportunity to sue their contractual partners not only at their place of residence but also at their own place of residence. You can only be sued at your place of residence. The same applies to employees on the defendant's side; they can also sue at the place of normal work in addition to at the employer's registered office.

Exclusive responsibilities

Art. 24 establishes a number of competences that supersede all other possible places of jurisdiction. Deviating agreements between the parties are not permitted. Exclusive jurisdiction exists in the following cases:

  • Real rights to immovable property as well as rental and lease agreements for the same.
  • organizational questions of legal persons
  • Entries in public registers
  • Registration and validity of patents , brands , designs and models

In the case of the latter, the ECJ has decided positively on the controversial question of whether exclusive jurisdiction can also be incidentally invoked in infringement proceedings.

Jurisdiction agreements

The international jurisdiction can acc. Art. 23 can in principle also be justified by prorogation . The prerequisite is that the party agreement meets the formal requirements. The written form , verbal agreements with written confirmation, customs of the parties and international trade customs are recognized . Material limits result from the exclusive responsibilities and regulations for the protection of policyholders, consumers and employees. According to Art. 24, an agreement on the place of jurisdiction can also be implied: If the defendant agrees to the proceedings, this establishes the competence of the court. The only limit here are the exclusive responsibilities.

Lis pendens and related proceedings

A given competence is acc. Art. 27 excluded if a process is already pending in another member state between the same parties in the same matter. In litigation that does not relate to the same subject, but is related to one another, the courts have the option under Art. 28 to suspend the proceedings. In first instance proceedings, they can also declare that they are not responsible under certain conditions.

Family matters: applicability of the EuEheVO

The EuGVO is supplemented in the area of ​​marriage and parent law by the Brussels IIa Regulation (also EuEheVO).

Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments


The recognition of foreign judgments is automatic according to the Brussels regulations. According to Art. 33, judgments of the courts of one member state also apply in all others, but can be reviewed in separate proceedings or incidentally when deciding on a lawsuit based on this judgment. According to Art. 34 and 35 EuGVO, recognition can only be refused for the following reasons (similar ones exist in the Brussels IIa Regulation):

  • Incompatibility with the public policy of the member state. This applies to both substantive law and procedural principles.
  • Defendant's lack of a legal hearing due to failure to deliver the application on time
  • Incompatibility with a judgment of a court of the member state
  • Incompatibility with a judgment given in the same matter by another member state or third country
  • Violation of the exclusive competences of Art. 22 or those for the protection of policyholders, consumers and employees. A more extensive examination of jurisdiction can only result from bilateral agreements (Art. 72).

If an appeal is pending against the decision in the Member State in which it was made , the recognition procedure according to Art. 37 will be suspended.


In contrast to automatic recognition, foreclosure on the basis of foreign titles according to Art. 38 can only be carried out if this has previously been declared enforceable at the request of an authorized person in a separate procedure, the exequatur procedure . Articles 44 and 45 open up legal remedies against the declaration of enforceability.

Individual evidence

  1. Hüßstege in Thomas / Putzo, ZPO, 34th edition. 2013, EuGVVO preliminary. Marg. 15th
  2. EUGH on jurisdiction in consumer contracts in which services are offered on the Internet.


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