Choice of law clause: Be careful when formulating

Time and again I see uncleanly formulated legal choice clauses in terms and conditions of online shops or other services. Many of them are not only ineffective, but in the worst case even resparable.

For example, a clause determining the applicability of German law can be problematic for a service offered in German. Now some may scratch their heads until I offer the solution: German is also spoken in Austria and Switzerland.

However, it is not possible to restrict access to the website to the Federal Republic of Germany, as this would violate the Geoblocking Ordinance, about which I have already reported in detail. However, if a contract is concluded with your customer from Austria or Switzerland, a clause which, without exception, determines German law, would deprive them of the rules of the respective home country, including those who, for example, particularly protect. That would be inadmissible and therefore repudentable. This is precisely what the Rome I Regulation, which is essential for the questions of competence and applicable law in Europe, regulates. Article 3 III/IV states that the mandatory law of an EU Member State is not completely excluded.

A clean formulation of the choice of law can therefore be decisive, because a flawed wording cannot only lead to warnings. What is much more annoying is when the clause is considered ineffective and suddenly, under Article 6 of the Rome I regulation, one suddenly comes up against the local law of the consumer. In economic terms, this is likely to be tantamount to a total loss of a receivable or similar.

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