Case law

  • Case Details
    • National ID: link
    • Member State: France
    • Common Name:LOCAM / Cornillon
    • Decision type: Other
    • Decision date: 18/09/1998
    • Court: Court d'appel de Lyon (Appellate court)
    • Subject:
    • Plaintiff:
    • Defendant:
    • Keywords:
  • Directive Articles
    Unfair Contract Terms Directive, Article 1, 1. Unfair Contract Terms Directive, Article 2
  • Headnote
    1. Article L. 132-1 of the Consumer Protection Act (Code de la consommation, CC) must be interpreted in light of the provisions in the EU Directive of 5 April 1993, which was transposed into national law by the Act of 1 February 1995.
    2. Under the Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993, the ban on the use of unfair terms is designed to protect citizens when they act as consumers in contracts concluded between a professional and a consumer.
    3. Under article 2 of the Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993, a consumer is a physical entity acting for purposes outside his professional capacity.
    4. When the Directive was transposed, French legislators did not extend this protection to traders using markets for the purposes of their trade, but in a field that falls outside their technical expertise.
  • Facts
    Mr R. Cornillon concluded a 48-month CCTV subscription contract with TEP FRANCE to safeguard his merchandise. The contract was accompanied by a previous contract with LOCAM concerning the hire of the equipment needed for CCTV recording.
    The leasing contract crucially stated that the lessee would forego any claims against the leaser should there be a fault with the material being hired. Furthermore, even if the material were no longer usable before the end of the initial 48-month period, the contract stated that the lessee had to continue paying the hire charges laid down in the contract.
    Following a fault with the CCTV equipment, Mr R. Cornillon suspended his payments. LOCAM subsequently brought a claim against him to obtain the outstanding monies.
  • Legal issue
    The Court of First Instance, the Saint-Etienne Commerce Tribunal, dismissed LOCAM’s case. The company lodged an appeal against the decision. In his defence, Mr R. Cornillon invoked the unfair nature of the terms of the leasing contract on the basis that they absolved the leaser of any responsibility for faults in the material he was leasing. He argued that article L. 132-1 CC applied in this particular case as the previous contract with LOCAM was not directly linked to his professional activities.
    The Court of Appeal upheld LOCAM’s appeal on the grounds that the provisions in article L. 132-1 CC do not apply when the contract is directly linked to the parties’ professional activities.
  • Decision

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