Articles

Reinforcing the Public Law Taboo: A Note on Hellenic Republic v Nikiforidis

M. M. WINKLER, E. AVATO

European Law Review

A paraître

Départements : Droit et fiscalité, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : mandatory rules, EU private international law, Rome I Convention, Rome I Regulation


This article hinges on the preliminary ruling rendered by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) (Grand Chamber) on 18 October 2016 and the related judgment of the German Federal Labour Court of 26 April 2017 in the Nikiforidis case to investigate an area of private international law that is undergoing a substantial development: overriding mandatory provisions. In Nikiforidis, the ECJ excluded that two Greek laws cutting the salary of public employees may be enforced against a teacher working in Germany for the Greek government under an employment contract governed by German law. The question addressed to ECJ was whether said laws were “overriding mandatory provisions” according to the Rome I Regulation. The court denied it, and left to the referring court to determine whether they could nevertheless operate “as matter of fact” under the governing law. This article explains how the ECJ’s conclusion has broader implications by regulating third countries’ interference in international business transactions. Starting with an analysis of the case, the article examines the history and nature of overriding mandatory provisions under EU private international law and argues that the solution embraced by the ECJ leaves room to uncertainty and unpredictability in the operation of foreign mandatory provisions


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