For investors who are mis-sold financial products, contractual claims against financial advisors are often decisive in compensating losses. The European Court of Justice has decided in its Bankinter judgment that national law must determine the contractual consequences of breaches of the MiFID I (substituted by MiFID II) suitability rule. This article examines the contractual relationships between investors and financial advisors under German, Italian and English law. It highlights the significant differences between the jurisdictions in the questions of when a contractual obligation to give advice arises, which duties must be fulfilled when giving advice and the requirements for damages to be claimed.
The judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Ottília Lovasné Tóth v ERSTE Bank Hungary Zrt can be seen as a missed opportunity, first, in elaborating on Article 3(1) of Directive 93/13, in particular whether the two criteria set by the article, of a term causing a ‘significant imbalance’ and it being contrary to ‘good faith’ should be assessed separately; and, second, in clarifying the status of the transparency requirement found in Article 5 of the directive. This case note focuses on the latter question, taking into account the repercussions of the judgment of the CJEU in Verein für Konsumenteninformation v Amazon EU Sàrl. In the latter case, the CJEU introduced an information duty about the existence of mandatory rules such as Article 6(2) of Rome I Regulation. In its decision in Ottília Lovasné Tóth, the CJEU decided to limit the scope of the judgment in Amazon to the particular circumstances of that case.
Strict contractual liability, foreseeability and non-cumul in the new Hungarian Civil Code are a living laboratory of legal transplantation. After an introduction (I) an overview is provided on the state of the art on legal transplants in seven theses (II). A case study follows next (III), sorted into three categories: ‘full legal transplants’ (comparative analyses took place both before and after the transplantation); ‘limping legal transplants’ (no a priori comparative considerations took place but the comparative toolbox is used in interpreting the new rules) and ‘surprising legal transplants,’ based on the spontaneous intuitions of the legislator having resulted in rejection and/or conversion into a ‘legal irritant’. The conclusions (IV) verify the significance of comparative analyses both in the pre- and post-transplantation phase.
EU regulation both affects private law and increasingly relies on private law mechanisms to ensure its proper enforcement. Prominent examples are competition and capital markets regulation. In contrast, EU prudential regulation of commercial banking predominantly relies on public enforcement via supervisory authorities. This is astonishing given that the protection of individual bank customers emerges as a leitmotiv of EU banking regulation. CRD IV and CRR as the main legislative acts of EU commercial banking regulation strongly promote the goals of depositor and investor protection. More explicitly, the Consumer Credit Directive and the Consumer Mortgage Credit Directive introduced the duty of responsible lending towards consumers. Where the individual bank customer enjoys regulatory attention, but is not protected by public supervisory authorities, private law is best placed to fill the enforcement gap. In light of CJEU guidance, this contribution argues that the current EU banking regulation is open for and even requires private law remedies to enforce individual protection goals. Suitable instruments are contract interpretation, contract nullity and damages.