EU Conflict of Laws for Companies: The Acquis and Beyond

Quick Facts

Type: Feasibility Study
Adopted: CD 2020/8
Commenced: February 2020

Proposer

  • Chris Thomale

 

Background

International company mobility as well as regulatory competition of company laws depend on clearly cut out rules designating the applicable substantive company law. It would thus seem an integral part of a functioning internal market to provide such conflict of laws rules. Regrettably, however, a ‘Rome IV’ Regulation, ie an EU conflict of laws code for companies, despite manifold initiatives, has not been adopted yet. Instead, the stage has been left to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which in well-rehearsed case law from the Daily Mail (C-81/87) until the Polbud (C-106/16) decisions has developed a certain framework for corporate mobility, culminating, of late, in Directive 2019/2121 on cross-border conversions, mergers and divisions. One big shortcoming of the European status quo is that the piecemeal harmonisation acquired through these developments still leaves a fundamental question unanswered: which company law regime by default is applicable to a given company?

This feasibility study will aim at laying the foundations for a prospective project that fully restates EU law on the matter implicit in conflict of laws legislation on adjacent topics like contract, tort, successions, insolvency and capital markets. Further, it will aim at foundations that go beyond CJEU case law and include national adjudicative practice and academic research into the picture. Based upon this acquis communautaire, the project of a future Rome IV Regulation can be investigated, notably putting to use techniques of private international law in order to address Member State reticence towards such an instrument as expressed hitherto.