Austria: another reference for preliminary ruling in regard to jurisdiction and website advertising

Plaintiff, a hotel company, is running a hotel in Austria and a related website, the latter also indicating plaintiff’s email address. Defendant, a German consumer, had made a room reservation through email. Plaintiff is claiming for payment of room rate and filed a law suit at the Austrian court where the contract was performed. Defendant pleaded there was no jurisdiction in Austria: due to him being a consumer the law suit should have been filed in Germany. The first instance court (BG St. Johann/Pongau) and the court of appeal (LG Salzburg) both dismissed the claim as in their view plaintiff via the website – even though not interactive (and thus not allowing online booking) – had directed commercial l activities to the Member State of the consumer’s domicile and as a consequence the claim was subject to German jurisdiction solely.Upon further appeal of plaintiff, Austrian Supreme Court (OGH) had sufficient doubts to institute a reference for preliminary ruling asking whether Art. 15 of Reg. 44/2001 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters must be interpreted in a way that a website accessable in the Member State of the consumer’s domicile and advertising the entrepreneur’s commercial activities would suffice to regard these commercial activities being directed to this member state.OGH’s reference for preliminary ruling 6 Ob 24/09m of March 26, 2009 is available for download in German here>>.

Leave a Comment