Nürnberger Allgemeine Versicherungs AG
Portbridge Transport International BV
(Reference for a preliminary ruling from the Oberlandesgericht München)
(Brussels Convention - Articles 20 and 57(2) - Failure by the defendant to enter an appearance - Defendant domiciled in another Contracting State - Geneva Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road - Conflict between conventions)
Judgment of the Court (Third Chamber), 28 October 2004 ?I - 0000
Summary of the Judgment
Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments - Relationship with other conventions - Conventions relating to a particular field - Convention containing rules on jurisdiction - Jurisidiction of the court seised challenged by the defendant on the basis of such a convention - Compliance by the court seised, in accordance with Article 57 of the Brussels Convention, with the rules of jurisdiction of the specialised convention
(Brussels Convention of 27 September 1968, Arts 20 and 57(2)(a))
Article 57(2)(a) of the Convention of 27 September 1968 on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, as amended by the Convention of 9 October 1978 on the Accession of the Kingdom of Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, by the Convention of 25 October 1982 on the Accession of the Hellenic Republic, by the Convention of 26 May 1989 on the Accession of the Kingdom of Spain and the Portuguese Republic and by the Convention of 29 November 1996 on the Accession of the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden, should be interpreted as meaning that the court of a Contracting State in which a defendant domiciled in another Contracting State is sued may derive its jurisdiction from a specialised convention to which the first State is a party as well and which contains specific rules on jurisdiction, even where the defendant, in the course of the proceedings in question, submits no pleas on the merits and formally contests the jurisdiction of the court seised.
In that connection, although it is true that according to Article 20 of the Convention of 27 September 1968, applicable by virtue of the second sentence of Article 57(2)(a), the court in question is required to declare of its own motion that it has no jurisdiction unless its jurisdiction was derived from the terms of that convention, the jurisdiction of that court must, however, be regarded as derived from the Convention, because Article 57 thereof specifically states that the rules of jurisdiction laid down by specialised conventions are not affected by that convention.
In those circumstances, when verifying of its own motion whether it has jurisdiction with respect to that convention, the court of a Contracting State in which a defendant domiciled in another Contracting State is sued and fails to enter an appearance must take account of the rules of jurisdiction laid down by specialised conventions to which the first Contracting State is also a party.
(see paras 16-20 and operative part)