News | 12.02.2020

LCA represents the Polish General Director for National Roads and Highways and sets leading case on EU jurisdiction regulation

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LCA Law Firm assisted the Directorate for National Roads and Highways, a public entity linked to the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure, in five precautionary proceedings commenced by Italian contractors. LCA, with Salvatore Sanzo, Gian Paolo Coppola and Claudia Bosco, acted together with a team of the Warsaw office of Gide Loyrette Nouel Law Firm.

The Italian companies had won the tenders for the construction of highways in Poland, within the context of important infrastructure projects financed by the European Union. Since disputes arose between the contractors and the Directorate, the latter had requested the payment of the first demand guarantees issued pursuant to the contracts, for a total amount of over 120 million Euros.

All 5 cases were similar. The guarantees, issued by Polish banks or insurers, were followed by counter-guarantees issued by Italian entities. Since the agreements between the contractors and the counter-guarantors were subject to the Italian jurisdiction, the contractors attempted to establish the jurisdiction of the Italian Courts and moved for injunctions to hinder payment of both the guarantees and counter-guarantees.

The Court of Turin and the Court of Rome upheld the innovative interpretation of Regulation (EU) No. 1215/2012 proposed by the Directorate’s counsels and declared the lack of jurisdiction of the Italian judges in favour of the Polish jurisdiction, provided as exclusive by the main guarantees.

The Court of Milan stick to the traditional interpretation and held jurisdiction, but in any case, ruled in favour of the Directorate rejecting the contractor’s requests.

The guarantors, therefore, paid all the guarantees enforced.

The interpretation upheld by the Italian Courts may be a significant leading case for similar disputes between companies, individuals and public entities belonging to the European Union.
A first comment of the decisions, in Italian, can be found at this link.

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