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.

5 things you should know about the Brussels I bis Regulation (EU 1215/2012)


1.  Since 10th January 2015, the new Brussels I bis Regulation (1215/2012) applies on all new cases brought before Court after this date.  Claims and cases already pending on this date, are not affected.

2.  Brussels I bis is more or less an update of the Brussel I Regulation (44/2001) and will therefore sound very familiar to the experienced cross-border litigator

3.  The Italian and Belgian ‘torpedo’s’ are tackled as the Court appointed by a forum clause will have priority to state whether or not it has the necessary competence.  The Belgian and Italian torpedo’s were known tactics to slow down the whole proceedings, as the Courts in both countries only rule concerning their competence at the end (often after several years).  Together with the rule that other Courts had to await the ruling of the Court where the claim was first brought, one could slow down proceedings by bringing a claim before the Italian or Belgian Courts (notwithstanding a forum clause f.e.)

4.  Foreign judgments no longer need an ‘exequatur‘ (domestication) in the Member State where one wants to execute this jugdment

5.  The Brussels I bis Regulation will also apply if 2 parties are both from outside a Member State but appoint a Court of a Member State in their forum clause

David Diris – Belgian lawyer – Kocks & Partners – Brussels