Competent court for torts committed on the Internet

24 February 2012

The European Court of Justice has issued a noteworthy ruling that clarifies the interpretation of the rules of jurisdiction in Council Regulation 44/2001

In the ruling issued October 25, 2011, the ECJ ruled on preliminary issues raised in matters C 509/09 and C 161/10 relating to doubts on the interpretation of Article 5.3 of Regulation 44/2001.

The case in question arose from a violation of privacy by content published on a website; the Court which referred the matter had doubts as to where the injured party could file actions in light of Article 5.3 of said regulation.

The ECJ establishes that the individual who alleges that their personality rights have been infringed can file a claim for liability for damages either before the courts of the member state where the publisher of the tortious content is established or before the courts of the member states where the injured party’s center of interests is located.

Without prejudice to same, the EU high court likewise acknowledges that this individual can also, instead of exercising a claim for liability for all damages incurred, exercise their claim before the courts of each member state in whose territory the content published on the Internet is, or was, accessible. Notwithstanding same, the ruling establishes that said authorities are only competent to hear the damages caused in the territory of the member state of the court in question.

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