Consumer law – when a pig in a poke turns out to be a horse


Don’t you just love those little local Courts?  Nowhere can you find such diversity in case law.

Take for example the decision of 16th October 2013 by the civil Court of First Instance Dinant.  The Court had to rule about a case where a horse was sold which turned out to be injured.

Main question was if the Act of September 1, 2004, concerning the protection of consumers in sales of consumer goods would apply to this sale-purchase.

The Court ruled that a horse is a moveable good in accordance to art. 528 Belgian Civil Code.  Moreover, the seller was considered a professional seller as he was a farmer who regularly sold horses.

The injury of the horse was also considered as a non-conformity and thus the sale-purchase was annulled by the Court.

Legal Awards: prizes with prices (3) – same year, another win!

Edith HeadI am definitely on a roll.  After our firm won both International Litigation Law Firm of the year and Distribution Law Firm of the Year in Belgium, it had become time to also polish my personal success and show my colleagues who is responsible for all these cracking Moët&Chandon Imperial Bruts!

As without any effort – and in all honesty, it was without any effort – I could claim our third prize of the year 2014: Litigation Lawyer of the year in Belgium 2014!  No sharing with teams or offices this time, but my own personal 1,6kg crystal materialization of my success… and only for 250 euros (unless I order 10 or more, then they would make me a deal).

Beware, 2015 will see the rise of the Jordan Belfort of Belgian law!

Kocks & Partners – Wirtschaftsrecht kompakt Oktober 2014

Here you can find the newsletter (in German) of Kocks & Partners about business law in Belgium from Oktober 2014, dealing with topics: steuerrecht, channeling, mehrwertsteuer, gesellschaftsrecht, eigentumsvorbehalt, insolvenz

Corman-Collins vs. La Maison du Whisky – where is the winner?

Judgement of the European Court of Justice – Case: C-9/12 (Corman-Collins SA v. La Maison du Whisky SA)

Interpretation of Article 2 und Article 5 (1) (a) and (b) of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 (‘Regulation No 44/2001‘)

Summary of facts:
The Belgium based Corman-Collins SA (‘Corman-Collins‘) had a commercial relationship with La Maison du Whisky SA (‘La Maison du Whisky‘), established in France. The contract consisted of Corman-Collins‘ purchase of whisky from La Maison du Whisky and the resale of the beverages in Belgium. After La Maison du Whisky unilaterally ended the commercial relationship, Corman-Collins sued for payment of compensation in lieu of notice and additional compensation under the Law of 27 July 1961 on Unilateral Termination of Exclusive Distribution Agreements of Indefinite Duration (‘Belgian Law of 27 July 1961‘).

Legal issues:
1. Jurisdiction: Is Article 2 of Regulation No 44/2001 a precluding rule of jurisdiction in regard to Article 4 of the Belgian Law of 27 July 1961?
2. Interpretation: Does either Article 5 (1)(a) or (b) of Regulation No 44/2001 cover a distribution agreement?

Ruling of the Court:
1. Article 2 of Regulation No 44/2001 must be interpreted as follows: Is the defendant domiciled in a different Member State than the court, it precludes the application of national rules of jurisdiction such as Article 4 of the Belgian Law of 27 July 1961.
2. Article 5 (1) (b) of Regulation No 44/2001 relating to the supply of services is applicable to the situation in which a plaintiff established in one Member State has an exclusive distribution agreement with the defendant established in another Member State. A further criterion for the applicability is that the distribution agreement contains specific terms, binding the parties in matter of the distribution by the distributor of goods sold by the grantor.

Although at first hand, it looks nothing has changed (the competent Court will still be the Belgian Court, albeit through another reasoning), the interesting question lies deeper. The case-law of the highest Court in Belgium states that a Court does not have to examine the facts to solve the question of its jurisdiction, but can base its ruling on the words of the writ. In fact, one only had to write in the writ that there is/was an exclusive distribution agreement, and the Belgian Court would accept its jurisdiction on basis of art. 4 of the Belgian Law of 27 July 1961. The European Court now forces the Belgian Court to investigate whether art. 5 (1) (b) Regulation No 44/2001 apply by looking into the stipulations of the agreement… which is part of the facts. Does this mean that the Belgian Courts will be forced to investigate the facts to solve the question of their jurisdiction?

The lawyer and the media

nulens saltalamacchia hertenweg murderMr. Kris Luyckx is one of the most famous criminal defense lawyers of Belgium.  Here you see him defending one of the accused in the Nulens and Saltalamacchia vs. Hertenweg murder trail.

Some say criminal lawyers are only looking for media attention and trials covered extensively in the media.

Some even say that they only have eye for the camera…

Picture ©HBVL