On the 16th of February, the European Court of Justice delivered a judgement concerning the applicability of the European Directive 86/653 (“Council Directive of 18 December 1986 on the coordination of the laws of the Member States relating to self-employed commercial agents”) to a commercial agent established in a Non-Member State, the principal of which is established in a Member State.
The judgement of the ECJ originated from a reference for a preliminary ruling requested in proceedings between Agro Foreign Trade & Agency Ltd, established in Turkey, and Petersime NV, established in Belgium, concerning payment of various forms of compensation owed as a consequence of the termination, by Petersime, of the commercial agency contract between those two companies.
The referring Court considered that the territorial scope of the Belgian Law of 1995, which transposes EU Directive 86/653 into Belgian legal system, is limited to commercial agents principally established in Belgium, regardless of the fact that the parties may have designated Belgian law in general as the applicable law. Therefore, in this case, the rights provided by Directive 86/653, including those related to compensation, wouldn’t apply. However the Belgian Court deferred the issue to the European Court of Justice asking to state with regard to the compatibility of such a national law with the Directive 86/653.
The European Court stated that Directive 86/653 must be interpreted as not precluding national legislation transposing that directive into the law of the Member State concerned, which excludes from its scope of application a commercial agency contract in the context of which the commercial agent is established in Non-member State, where it carries out activities under that contract, and the principal is established in that Member State, so that, in such circumstances, the commercial agent cannot rely on rights which that directive guarantees to commercial agents after the termination of such a commercial agency contract.
Attachment: ECJ Judgment – C507-15