PIL instrument(s)
European Enforcement Order (EEO)
Case number and/or case name
C-508/12 Vapenik
Walter Vapenik v Josef Thurner
Referring court and Member State
Austria, Second Instance, Landesgericht Salzburg
Articles referred to by the CJEU
European Enforcement Order (EEO)
Article 6
Paragraph 1 SubParagraph a
Paragraph 1 SubParagraph b
Paragraph 2 SubParagraph a
Paragraph 2 SubParagraph b
Paragraph 2 SubParagraph c
Paragraph 2 SubParagraph d
Paragraph 2 SubParagraph e
Paragraph 2 SubParagraph f
Paragraph 2 SubParagraph g
Paragraph 2 SubParagraph h
Paragraph 2 SubParagraph i
Paragraph 2 SubParagraph j
Paragraph 2 SubParagraph k
Paragraph 3 SubParagraph a
Paragraph 3 SubParagraph b
Paragraph 3 SubParagraph c
Paragraph 3 SubParagraph d
Paragraph 3 SubParagraph e
Paragraph 3 SubParagraph f
Paragraph 4
Date of the judgement
05 December 2013
Proceedings initiated by Mr. Vapenik, resident domiciled in Salzburg (Austria), against Mr. Thurner, resident domiciled in Ostende (Belgium). The action derived from the breach of a loan agreement contracted between Mr. Vapenik and Mr. Thurner, both acting outside their business or professional activities. Mr. Vapenik obtained a default judgement against Mr. Thurner before the Bezirksgericht of Salzburg. Afterwards, he applied for the certification of the judgement as a European Enforcement Order. The court, however, denied the application, stating that the jurisdictional rule established on Article 6(1)(d) of the Regulation 805/2004 had not been respected, in that the claim action against Mr. Thurner, a consumer, should have been brought before the courts of the Member State of his domicile (Belgium). Mr. Vapenik appealed the decision, and the court of appeals decided to refer a question to the CJEU for it to determine whether the jurisdictional rules for consumers established on Article 6(1)(d) of the Regulation No 805/2004 are also applicable for contracts concluded between two persons acting outside business or professional activities. Since the Regulation No 805/2016 does not provide a definition of consumer, the CJEU relied on an autonomous definition, taking into account its existing case law on the subject matter. According to the CJEU, a consumer in the sense of Article 6(1)(d) must be understood as a person who concluded a contract for a purpose outside his trade or profession (para. 24). The CJEU also found that the special jurisdictional rules for consumers aim at protecting the weak party in contractual relations, compensating for the inequality existing between the parties. This imbalance might only occur when only one of the persons in the contractual relation is not engaged in commercial and professional activities (para.33). In the present case, the CJEU found that, since neither party is engaged in commercial or professional activities, Article 6(1)(d) was inapplicable. This interpretation by the CJEU is fully in line with the case law on consumers’ jurisdictional rules under the Brussels Regulation. The CJEU aimed at achieving a coherent application of both Regulations, avoiding inconsistencies between them (para. 37).

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