2017/4/25 - 30 Cdo 5535/2015 (summary)

Judgement of the Supreme Court dated 25 April 2017, file number 30 Cdo 5535/2015

(evidence, international jurisdiction of the court)

The applicant sought monetary compensation for defective goods supplied by the defendant. The defendant in the proceedings did not challenge the conclusion of the contract. However, he denied the international jurisdiction of the Czech courts. The jurisdiction was established pursuant to Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council (Brussels I bis Regulation) based on the "place of delivery" which was the applicant's registered office. According to the defendant, however, this place has not been agreed and therefore, the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods should be applied, i.e. the goods should be delivered to the seller's (defendant's) registered office. The Court of First Instance found that the Czech courts have the international jurisdiction in accordance with Article 7 of the Brussels Ibis Regulation, since documentary evidence indicates that the goods were actually delivered to the applicant's registered office in the Czech Republic. Furthermore, this fact was not disputed by the defendant. The court of appeal subsequently confirmed the judgment. The defendant filled an appeal against this judgement and argued that the court did not assess the question whether the jurisdiction of the court can be determined on the basis of evidence that was not carried out by the court in the proceedings.

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. Firstly, it emphasized that Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 ("Brussels I") rather than Brussels Ibis Regulation was applicable at the time of the initiation of the procedure in question. Accordingly, Article 5 (1) of the Brussels I Regulation is applicable. It determines that the defendant may be sued in the State where the goods were or should have been delivered under the contract. While dealing with term "place of supply of goods" the Supreme Court refers to the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union ("the Court of Justice") and states that in a case that the place cannot be determined on the basis of a contract, that place is where the goods were physically delivered. The Supreme Court also notes, referring to the case-law of the Court of Justice, that the national court has the power to assess its international jurisdiction in the light of all the information in its possession. Accordingly, proving is not necessary. In the present case, the courts properly proceeded in accordance with the established case-law of the Court of Justice, on the basis of available information (including any defendant's claims) without necessity to prove the evidence in accordance with the Code of Civil Procedure.