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*PIL Case Law

Published on May 15th, 2018 | by efi kloyeri

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Summary: C-168 and 169/16 regarding the Concept of “place in which the employee habitually carries out his work” according to Regulation 44/2001

Key-words: Judicial cooperation in civil matters-Jurisdiction-Jurisdiction over individual contracts of employment-Regulation (EC) No 44/2001-Article 19(2)(a)-Concept of ‘place in which the employee habitually carries out his work’-Airline sector-Airline crew-Regulation (EEC) No 3922/91-Concept of ‘home base

A) The facts in the main proceedings and the question referred

 Mr Moreno Osacar concluded, in Spain, a contract of employment with Ryanair, an airline having its head office in Ireland. According to the contract, the Irish courts had jurisdiction over possible disputes between the parties. Furthermore, Mr Moreno Osacar’s contract of employment nominated Charleroi airport (Belgium) as ‘home base’. After he resigned on 16 June 2011, he brought proceedings against Ryanair before the tribunal du travail de Charleroi (Charleroi Labour Court, Belgium) seeking an order requiring his former employer to pay various heads of compensation. This Court concluded that the Belgian courts did not have jurisdiction over Mr Moreno Osacar’s application. The latter brought an appeal against that judgment before the referring court, the cour du travail de Mons (Mons Higher Labour Court, Belgium).

Respectively, Ms Nogueira and others, concluded contracts of employment with Crewlink, a legal person established in Ireland. Each of their contracts of employment provided that those workers would be employed by Crewlink and seconded as cabin crew with Ryanair, for duties comparable to those of Mr Moreno Osacar. After their work relationships ended, they brought proceedings before the tribunal du travail de Charleroi (Charleroi Labour Court) with a view to obtaining payment of various heads of compensation. They brought an appeal before the referring court, which joined the above mentioned cases and brought before the Court the following question:

‘Taking into account:

–the need for predictability of approach and legal certainty, which governed the adoption of the rules on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial proceedings laid down in the Convention of 27 September 1968 on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, as amended by [successive conventions on the accession of new Member States to that convention] and the [Brussels I Regulation] (see, in particular, the judgment of 19 July 2012, Mahamdia, C‑154/11, EU:C:2012:491, paragraphs 44 and 46).

–the particular features of the European air navigation sector, in which air crews working for airlines whose registered office is in one of the Member States of the European Union fly over, on a daily basis, the territory of the European Union, departing from a home base that may, as in the present case, be located in another Member State,

–the particular circumstances of the present case as described in the grounds of the … order for reference,

–the criterion derived from the concept of “home base” (as defined in Annex III to Regulation No 3922/91), which is used in Regulation No 883/2004 to determine which social security legislation applies, with effect from 28 June 2012, to airline flight crews and cabin crews,

–the approach taken in the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, in the terms of the judgments cited in the grounds of the present order for reference,

may the concept of the “place where the employee habitually carries out his work” referred to in Article 19(2) of the [Brussels I Regulation] be interpreted as being comparable to that of “home base”, defined in Annex III to [Regulation No 3922/91] as “the location nominated by the operator to the crew member from where the crew member normally starts and ends a duty period or a series of duty periods and where, under normal conditions, the operator is not responsible for the accommodation of the crew member concerned”, for the purpose of determining the Contracting State (and thus the jurisdiction) on whose territory an employee habitually carries out his work where the employee is employed as a member of the air crew of an airline, subject to the laws of a Member State of the European Union, that transports passengers internationally by air throughout the territory of the European Union, since that criterion of connection, based on the “home base”, in the sense of “the effective centre of the work relationship”, inasmuch as the employee systematically begins and ends his working day at that place, organises his daily work there and, throughout the period of his contractual relationship maintains his residence there, is the criterion which both indicates the closest connection with a Contracting State and ensures the most satisfactory protection of the weaker party in the contractual relationship?’

Β) Legal Context

Article 19(2)(a) of Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters as well as the Annex III to Council Regulation (EEC) No 3922/91 of 16 December 1991 on the harmonisation of technical requirements and administrative procedures in the field of civil aviation.

C) Consideration of the question referred

The Court ruled that:

Article 19(2)(a) of Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters must be interpreted as meaning that, in the event of proceedings being brought by a member of the air crew, assigned to or employed by an airline, and in order to establish the jurisdiction of the court seised, the concept of ‘place where the employee habitually carries out his work’, within the meaning of that provision, cannot be equated with that of ‘home base’, within the meaning of Annex III to Council Regulation (EEC) No 3922/91 of 16 December 1991 on the harmonisation of technical requirements and administrative procedures in the field of civil aviation, as amended by Regulation (EC) No 1899/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006. The concept of ‘home base’ constitutes nevertheless a significant indicium for the purposes of determining the ‘place where the employee habitually carries out his work’.

 Angie-Eftihia Klogkiri

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