The Future of the Sharing Economy

The Question

Should Uber be considered as a company that offers transportation services or rather as a digital platform that offers information society services, operating merely to match passengers with drivers?

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M-EPLI Talk with Dr. Sofia Ranchordás: “Online Reputation and Information Asymmetries”

By Dr. William Bull and Doris Beganovic (ELS Bachelor student)

 

On the 25th of October 2017, Maastricht European Private Law Institute had the honour of welcoming Dr. Sofia Ranchordás, professor at both Leiden and Groningen Law School, to give a talk about Online Reputation and Information Asymmetries, with an emphasis on providing a critical account of reputational feedback in the platform economy.

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The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal: Will it become a matter of European contract law?

By Dr. Anna Beckers

 

In the past two years, I have worked on the legal consequences of the Volkswagen scandal. I have focused here and here primarily on whether the corporate social responsibility policy of Volkswagen, in which the company has outlined its commitment to environmental protection, can have legal consequences under EU private law. To that end, I predicted that the EU unfair commercial practices directive has the potential to remedy the detrimental consequences for consumers. Ella Rosenberg has argued on the MEPLI blog in a similar direction.

In the meantime, much has happened in the context of the Volkswagen consumer litigation that has made me revisit this prediction. It seems that the focus on false advertisement law has materialised in the United States. This February, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission reached a far-reaching settlement in favour of consumers. The company has to fully compensate misled consumers through a combination of repair, monetary compensation and buy-backs. But, in the Member States of the EU, the experience with the use of unfair commercial practices law appears to have been mixed. The Italian competition authority fined Volkswagen for unfair commercial practices after an emissions test had been conducted by the consumer organisation Altroconsumo, but this remains the only successful action in the EU so far (according to the European Consumer Organisation BEUC).  And even in Italy, the consequence was a fine for the company without the added effect that consumers have their losses compensated or receive confiscated profits (this is subject to separate proceedings).

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10 Years After Romania’s Accesion to the EU: European Contract Law (Doctrinal and Empirical Observations)


The Maastricht European Private Law Institute and the Legal Research Institute of the Romanian Academy (Centre for the Study of European Law – CSDE) are organising a conference on current issues of European contract law. 2017 marks a decade after Romania’s accession to the European Union, which is a meaningful moment for legal researchers to evaluate various aspects in different sub-areas of private law with respect to the development of the Romanian legal system as a legal system of the European Union.

The conference will include both doctrinal and empirical observations on European contract law. At the same time, the conference will serve as a dissemination platform for the first empirical study on the application of European law by Romanian national judges.

The event will also honour Prof. Nicolae Turcu, the former president of the Romanian Legislative Council’s Civil Law Section, who passed away earlier this year, to the grief of both legal academia and practice.

The full programme of the event can be found here (in Romanian/English).

Registration requests can be sent to ardae2007@gmail.com until 20 October 2017.

The conference is free of charge.

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Reservations over the Netherlands Commercial Court

By Professor Bas van Zelst

 

On 18 July 2017 the Government submitted a proposal for the establishment of the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC). In brief, the proposal provides for the establishment of a court (and appellate court) before which parties can litigate in the English language. According to the proposal, the NCC will give the Dutch economy an impulse. The NCC provides Dutch parties with access to an affordable, English judicial system of high quality, which in turn is beneficial to the Dutch service sector (from counsel to hotels and from translation agencies to couriers).

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Road traffic and other liability in Formula 1?

On Sunday morning 1 October, all of the Netherlands was behind their tv or internet connection to watch ‘our’ Max Verstappen win the Malaysian Grand Prix. Besides watching a very exciting race, I wondered about some of the accidents that happen between drivers on the track. I was especially intrigued with the incident between Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel.

If one formula one car hits another, and one of the parties is to blame, does that create liability to pay for the repairs of the other?

Of course, like in other sports, the standard of care that we assume between ‘players’ is different than in the ordinary course of life and business, but I am not speaking about bodily harm. The material damage to Vettel’s car, which was estimated by Dutch former formula 1 driver Robert Doornbos on Dutch TV of about half a million Euro, is now to be born by Ferrari?

The liability regime the applies to damage occurring, either by intentional act or by negligence, is traditionally covered by the place where the damage occurs (lex loci delicti). So Malaysian law applies to damage occurring during the Malaysian Grand Prix, etc. A quick google search reveals that there are special liability rules for the Singapore Grand Prix.

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