Pop goes the diesel! A Case comment on Case C‑343/19 Verein fur Konsumenteninformation v Volkswagen AG
Case C 343/19 Verein fur Konsumenteninformation v Volkswagen AG is an EU jurisdictional dispute about an Austrian consumer claim concerning vehicles that were defectively manufactured by a German company. The resulting decision by the Court of the Justice of the European Union (CJEU) granted jurisdiction for Austrian courts to hear the case. This case comment will proceed in five steps. Firstly, it provides a summary of the facts. Secondly, it lays down the jurisdictional rules per Brussels I Regulation 2012 (Brussels I), and the precedent surrounding Article 7(2) Brussels I on alternative jurisdiction for torts. Thirdly, it agrees with the CJEU that the place of final purchase before the scandal (Austria) is the place of initial damage. Fourth, it criticises the CJEU’s characterisation of the case as one involving material damage rather than pure financial loss, while using reasoning from pure financial loss case to justify granting alternative jurisdiction in the present dispute. Finally, this comment laments that the CJEU failed to (1) clarify alternative jurisdiction rules for when the place of purchase and place of marketing are different, and (2) flesh out substantive criteria for what ‘other specific circumstances’ are required in order to grant Article 7(2) alternative jurisdiction.
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