Language of document : ECLI:EU:C:2018:50

Case C106/17

Paweł Hofsoe

v

LVM Landwirtschaftlicher Versicherungsverein Münster AG

(Request for a preliminary ruling from the Sąd Okręgowy w Szczecinie)

(Reference for a preliminary ruling — Judicial cooperation in civil matters — Jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters — Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 — Article 11(1)(b) and Article 13(2) — Jurisdiction in insurance matters — Scope ratione personae — Concept of ‘injured party’ — Professional in the insurance sector — Not included)

Summary — Judgment of the Court (Eighth Chamber), 31 January 2018

1.        Judicial cooperation in civil matters — Jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters — Regulation No 1215/2012 — Jurisdiction in insurance matters — Actions brought against the insurer — Special rules of jurisdiction aimed at protecting the weaker party — Scope — Relations between professionals in the insurance sector — Not included

(European Parliament and Council Regulation No 1215/2012, Arts 11(1)(b) and 13(2))

2.        Judicial cooperation in civil matters — Jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters — Regulation No 1215/2012 — Jurisdiction in insurance matters — Actions brought against the insurer — Direct action brought by the injured party — Concept of (injured party) — Professional in the insurance sector — Recovering claims for damages from insurers as contractual assignees — Not included

(European Parliament and Council Regulation No 1215/2012, Recitals 15 and 18 and Arts 11(1)(b) and 13(2))

1.      See the text of the decision.

(see paras 41, 42)

2.      Article 13(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, read in conjunction with Article 11(1)(b) of that regulation, must be interpreted as meaning that it may not be relied on by a natural person, whose professional activity consists, inter alia, in recovering claims for damages from insurers and who relies on a contract for the assignment of a claim concluded with the victim of a road accident, to bring a civil liability action against the insurer of the person responsible for that accident, which has its registered office in a Member State other than the Member State of the place of domicile of the injured party, before a court of the Member State in which the injured party is domiciled.

Although it is true that recital 18 of Regulation No 1215/2012 states that the purpose of Section 3 of Chapter II of that regulation is to protect the weaker party by rules of jurisdiction more favourable to his interests than the general rules, it is apparent that the action at issue in the main proceedings concerns relations between professionals and that it is not such as to affect the procedural situation of a party deemed to be weaker (see, to that effect, judgment of 21 January 2016, SOVAG, C‑521/14, EU:C:2016:41, paragraphs 29 and 30). In that regard, the fact that a professional, such as Mr Hofsoe, carries out his business on a small scale, cannot lead to the conclusion that he is deemed to be a weaker party than the insurer. A case-by-case assessment of the question whether such a professional may be considered as a ‘weaker party’ in order to be covered by the definition of ‘injured party’, within the meaning of Article 13(2) of Regulation No 1215/2012, would give rise to the risk of legal uncertainty and would be contrary to the objective of that regulation, laid down in recital 15 thereof, according to which the rules of jurisdiction must be highly predictable (see, to that effect, judgment of 20 July 2017, MMA IARD, C‑340/16, EU:C:2017:576, paragraph 34).

(see paras 44, 45, 47, operative part)