Sánchez-Bordona AG opined last week in C-913/19 CNP. The issue is whether a Polish court has international jurisdiction to rule on a dispute between a company to which a person injured in a road traffic accident that occurred in Poland had assigned his rights, and the insurance undertaking, established in Denmark, which insures the risks of the person who caused the accident. Krzysztof Pacula has interesting Polish context here. He also gives more background to the market and legal implications of involving third parties (such as garages repairing vehicles and providing replacement vehicles) and I am happy to refer to his analysis.
On applicable law and assignment, the EC has proposed rules which complement Rome I. That proposal is making its way through the Institutions, at snail’s pace. On jurisdiction, CJEU Hofsoe clarified one or two things but also created extra fog. The UKSC distinguished Hofsoe in Aspen Underwriting, not however without great effort and with continuing question marks. This really is an area which could do with co-ordinated Rome I and BIa legislative tweaking.
On the specific issue of branch jurisdiction, the case echoes Ryanair v DelayFix. The AG finalises his analysis on that question as follows:
a commercial company established in a Member State which operates under a contract with an insurance undertaking established in another Member State may be classified as a ‘branch, agency or other establishment’ of that undertaking if, cumulatively:
– it operates in a Member State by providing compensation for material damage on the basis of insurance against civil liability arising from the use of motor vehicles the risks connected with which are covered by the insurance undertaking;
– it has the appearance of an extension of the insurance undertaking; and
– it has a management body and material facilities such as to enable it to transact business with third parties, so that the latter, although knowing that there will if necessary be a legal link with the insurance undertaking, do not have to deal directly with that undertaking.’
Not of course a set of criteria which lead to much spontaneous predictability – again an issue which in the specific insurance context could do with statutory intervention.
EU Private International Law, 3rd ed. 2021, para 2.293 ff, para 2.73 ff.