The long awaited and much debated Rome II Regulation was finally published in July. The Regulation harmonises the law applicable to noncontractual obligations in EU member states. Under the Regulation, the applicable law for noncontractual disputes will be based on where the damage occurred rather than where the harmful act took place.

This has significance for ebusinesses who could be the subject of proceedings in several member state countries where a tort has occurred. However, it has been agreed that the national laws incorporating the Regulation should not restrict the free movement of goods and services as regulated by instruments such as the e- Commerce Directive. Therefore, on-line businesses may be excluded from this change to the law when the UK adopts the Regulation in 2009.