The Rome I Regulation - key facts

  • The Rome I Regulation supersedes the Rome Convention on the law applicable to contractual obligations.
  • It was published in the EU official Journal on 4 July 2008 and its substantive provisions will apply to all contracts concluded after 17 December 2009 in all Member States, except the UK and Denmark.

Changes from the Rome Convention

The Rome I Regulation harmonises the rules on the law applicable to contractual obligations and increases certainty in this area. Consumers in particular will benefit from better protection under the new rules by the improved drafting of the Article relating to consumer contracts. Article 9.3 of Rome I is a key change - it allows the courts of the Member States to give effect to the "overriding mandatory" rules of the law of the country "where the obligations have to be or have been performed". This applies even where the applicable law has been expressly chosen by the parties.

The UK's position on Rome I

The UK opted out of the negotiations of Rome I, thus will not automatically be bound when its provisions take effect. However, in its recent consultation paper, the Ministry of Justice recommended that Commission approval should now be sought to opt in to Rome I. This is due to the fact that the amendments made as a result of the negotiations address many of their initial concerns.

Further information: The Rome I Regulation can be found at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:177:0006:0016:EN:PDF