Where does harm first arise?

Author: Klaus Oblin

The High Court recently ruled on where harm first arises in connection with product liability claims, as outlined in Article 5(3) of the EU Brussels I Regulation.(1)

Article 5(3) states that:

“a person domiciled in a member state may be sued in another member state – in particular before the court where the harmful event occurred or may occur – in cases of tort or similar actions or if claims arising from such an action are the basis for a proceeding.”

In the appeals proceeding, the High Court asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for a preliminary ruling on the matter of jurisdiction, pursuant to Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.(2)

In its January 16 2014 decision(3) the ECJ stated that the Brussels I Regulation must be interpreted to mean that in cases where a producer is being sued based on liability for a faulty product, the location of the harmful event is where the product in question was produced.


(1) OGH Case 7 Ob 19/14s, dated February 26 2014.

(2) 7 Ob 187/12v.

(3) Case C-45/13.