The CJEU yesterday held in C-581/20 Toto. I discussed the AG’s Opinion earlier. Gilles Cuniberti in his analysis engages critically with the Court’s replies to the interim measures issues, Krzysztof Pacula’s review looks at the other questions asked, too. All in all, the Court’s engagement with the issues is under par.
The CJEU first of all holds that despite the instrument of public procurement, the case does not involve acta iure imperii (and notes  that the current procedure has been brought entirely under ordinary civil procedure rules). This is simply an ordinary spat between contracting parties on the exercise of a straightforward construction contract. With reference to Rina and in particular Supreme Site Services, the Court  confirms that lex fori rules on immunity do not as such exclude the qualification of ‘civil and commercial’. As we have already experienced in the final, national judgment in Kuhn, the CJEU’s approach to see immunity, closely linked to public international law, distinct from the private international law notion of ‘civil and commercial’, quickly becomes nugatory in litigation practice. Neither does that approach answer the referring court’s question whether if the matter does fall within Brussels Ia, the ordinarily applicable Bulgarian rule that no such relief may be ordered against public authorities, must be set aside.
On the issue of provisional measures, the AG saw a plausible way forward by a fairly standard application of the lis pendens rules (A29 ff) and by assessing the definitiveness of the measure and the impact of that assessment on the recognition, or not, of the decision of the court with subject-matter jurisdiction. The CJEU however merely emphasises the lack of formal hierarchy, in Brussels Ia, between the courts with subject-matter jurisdiction and those with jurisdiction for provisional measures. It concludes  that the latter are not bound to dismiss jurisdiction merely because a court with subject-matter jurisdiction has been either seized or has held in interim proceedings. It could certainly have found support in the Regulation’s intention to, and provisions designed for, avoid(ing) conflicting decisions.
EU Private International law, 3rd ed 2021, 2.512ff, 2.550 ff, 5.584 ff.
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