10 Colum. J. Eur. L. 385 (2004)
Johan Verlinden, Assistant at the Institute for International Trade Law, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.
This judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) came as a response to preliminary questions posed by the “Hoge Raad” (Supreme Court) of the Netherlands. At issue was the interpretation of Article I of the European Convention on Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgements in Civil and Commercial matters. The Convention determines which court has jurisdiction over a case with linkages to several national legal systems within the EU. The Convention applies if the defendant is domiciled in a Member State and if the case falls within the material scope of the Convention. The material scope of the Brussels Convention, defined in Article 1, is limited to civil and commercial matters. It does not extend to revenue, customs or administrative matters. In this case, the ECJ was confronted with the interpretation of the concepts “civil and commercial matters” and “customs”. The ECJ reaffirmed that the concepts of the Convention must be given an independent and autonomous interpretation.