Regulation (EC) 593/2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations (Rome I) is now fully applicable.


Until December of last year, the courts of EU member states would apply the rules in the Rome Convention to determine which law governed a contract/contractual dispute where the contract itself was silent on this issue.

Current position

Rome I has now taken over the role of the Rome Convention in relation to contracts made on or after 17 December 2009. Contracts made before that date will continue to be governed by the Rome Convention. Rome I is applicable in all EU member states except Denmark.

What’s changed?

Rome I is similar in many respects to the Rome Convention. It does, however, introduce some substantive changes to the position under the Rome Convention. For example, Rome I lists eight categories of contract (sale of goods, franchise, distribution etc) and provides specific rules for determining the governing law in relation to each. This is a substantive change from the Rome Convention. Also, Rome I introduces a broader definition of ‘consumer contract’ to catch contracts made using the Internet.

Anyone looking at governing law issues on which Rome I impacts should not assume that the position is as it was under the Rome Convention and should read the new Regulation.

Further reading

Click here for a copy of Rome I