CJEU Clarifies Consumer Jurisdictional Privilege in Personal and Assigned Claims for Breach of Data Rights
On 25 January 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) rendered its decision in Maximilian Schrems v. Facebook Ireland Limited.
The CJEU followed the opinion of Advocate General Bobek (the Advocate General) – that we previously discussed – and clarified the extent of the consumer jurisdictional privilege.
As we already discussed, Maximilian Schrems is a well-known Austrian activist in the field of technology and electronic privacy. Previously, Mr. Schrems had successfully challenged the transfer of data from the EU to the U.S. through the Safe Harbour regime.
In the present case, Mr Schrems sued Facebook Ireland Limited (Facebook), the European subsidiary of Facebook Inc., for alleged violations of his privacy and data protection rights, as well as those of seven other Facebook users who had assigned their claims to him. These seven co-claimants were domiciled in the EU as well as in India.
Mr Schrems initiated proceedings in the Austrian courts, relying on the consumer jurisdictional privilege provided for in Article 16(1) of the now repealed Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Brussels I Regulation). This provision allows consumers (i.e., non-commercial parties) to sue the other party to a contract in the courts of the EU Member State in which the consumer is domiciled. Article 18(1) of the currently applicable Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Brussels Ibis Regulation) contains similar terms. Article 15(1) of the Brussels I Regulation (reproduced in Article 17(1) of the Brussels Ibis Regulation) limits this jurisdictional privilege to “matters relating to a contract concluded by a person, the consumer, for a purpose which can be regarded as being outside his trade or profession“.READ MORE