From: THE LORD GRENFELL Chairman of the Select Committee on the European Union
COMMITTEE OFFICE HOUSE OF LORDS LONDON SW1A 0PW
Tel: 020 7219 6083 Fax: 020 7219 6715
14 December 2006
Docs 16231/04 and 6622/06: Proposed Regulation on the law applicable to noncontractual obligations (Rome II) Thank you for your letter of 22 November which was considered by SubCommittee E (Law and Institutions) at its meeting on 13 December. The Committee is grateful for your providing a copy of the final version of the Common Position and for setting out the current procedural position relating to the negotiation of this Regulation. We are pleased to see that violations of privacy and rights relating to personality are to be excluded by Article 1(2)(g) and to learn that the Government are putting forward a proposal to delete the special rule relating to product liability. The reduction in the number of special rules is to be encouraged as the Committee indicated in its 2004 Report. We support the amendment being proposed in relation to torts resulting in purely economic damage in different countries. We agree that such a measure would improve legal certainty and simplify litigation. It would also render Article 6, itself a problematic provision, largely redundant. The general rule in Article 4, together with the Government’s amendment to deal with the “mosaic” problem, should suffice. We also believe that Article 7 remains problematic. The reference to Article 174 of the EC Treaty (in Recital 22) could encourage much argument as to what is embraced by this special rule. We believe that if any special rule is needed it should be balanced as between claimants and defendants and much clearer in its terms. Finally, we are grateful for your explanation of Article 9 (industrial action). We note that this rule has been introduced at the behest of two Member States in particular. The Committee decided to retain the proposal under scrutiny but at the same time to clear Document 16231/04 which contains an outdated text. We would be grateful if you could keep us informed of developments. As you indicate, the next step will be the response of the European Parliament at the end of its Second Reading.
I am copying this letter to Michael Connarty MP, Chairman of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee; and to Alistair Doherty, Clerk to the Commons Committee; Michael Carpenter, Legal Adviser to the Commons Committee; Les Saunders (Cabinet Office); and Deirdre Boylan, Departmental Scrutiny Co-ordinator.
Rt Hon Baroness Ashton of Upholland Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Department for Constitutional Affairs Selborne House 54 Victoria Street London SW1E 6QW