European Court of Justice: Advocate General gives opinion on jurisdiction based on website advertising

Advocate General Trstenjak today delivered her opinion in joint cases C-585/08 (Pammer v. Reederei Schlüter) and C-144/09 (Hotel Alpenhof v. Heller). Both cases concern the issue whether the fact that a website of the party with whom a consumer has concluded a contract can be consulted on the internet was sufficient to justify a finding that an activity is being ‘directed’, within the terms of Article 15(1)(c) of Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 (‘the Brussels I Regulation’). Advocate General Trstenjak suggested to answer that the mere accessablity of a website is not sufficient. National courts rather have to take into regard all circumstances including content of the website, hitherto business activities, language, domain name and extent of use of internet advertising opportunites. It should, however, not be decisive whether it was an ‘interactive’ or ‘passive’ website as the ‘direction’ of an activity does not depened on the particular technical means used to conclude the contract.Case C-585/08 (Pammer v. Reederei Schlüter) in addition involved the issue whether a journey on a cargo ship including accomodation, opportunity of shore leaves and certain leisure facilities on board (swimming pool, gym, deck-chairs, etc.) constitutes a contract which, for an inclusive price, provides for a combination of travel and accommodation according to Art. 15(3) of the Brussels I Regulation. Advocate General Trstenjak suggested to answer this question to the positive.Full opinion available in German, French, Italian, Slovene and Finnish.

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