Choice of law. Dispute in connection with settlement of claim after cancellation of purchase of flat in Spain

Supreme Court judgment 18 October 2019, HR-2019-1929-A (case no. 19-29021SIV-HRET), civil case, appeal against judgment

Propiedades Rott SL (Counsel Leif Inge Håland) mot Trond Lie Nilsen (Counsel Finn Eide)

Justices: Matningsdal, Matheson, Noer, Arntzen, Steinsvik

A Norwegian private individual residing in Spain had entered into an agreement with a Spanish company with Norwegian owners regarding the purchase of a flat in Spain. When the buyer later wanted to terminate the agreement, a termination agreement was entered into under which the buyer was to pay damages. The settlement of claim was brought before Norwegian courts, which had decided with a legally binding effect that it had jurisdiction to hear the case, see Article 15 (1) (c) of the Lugano Convention. In the choice of law issue, the Supreme Court found that the dispute was to be resolved under Norwegian and not Spanish law. There was no basis for letting the purchase agreement determine the choice of law. Separate assessments of the two agreements were not in conflict with Article 12 in Regulation (EC) No 593/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council – Rome I. Since the termination agreement was a consumer agreement, the Regulation's Article 6 (1) indicated review under Norwegian law. The consideration of international uniformity of the law strongly suggested compliance with the choice of law rule under EU law. It was also emphasised that the case was closely connected to Norway, because, among other things, the seller directed its business towards the Norwegian market. The ownership interests in the Spanish company were also mainly Norwegian, and most loss items related to the Norwegian owners' costs.

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