Collision of river ships. Tort liability. Jurisdiction. Applicable law. Application of the provisions of the romanian commercial code.

The plaintiff vested the court with the action having as object the obligation of the defendant to pay damages caused by the collision of two river ships, the fault for the occurrence of the event devolving exclusively on the defendant.

The court was to solve the jurisdiction issue in relation to the provisions of article 157 of Law no. 105/1992 on the regulation of private international law relations. Constanta Court (Civil Decision no. 38/MF/07.02.2001 – unpublished), verifying ex officio the authority held to settle the lawsuit on private international law relations, gave effect to the provisions of article 149 section 5 of Law no. 105/1992 “the place where a legal act occurred, wherefrom extra contractual obligations or its effects arise, is in Romania”, considering that the text states that the rule of jurisdiction has a dispositional nature, thus consecrating the relative competence, the choice of the competent court belonging to the plaintiff. The motivation of the Court is legal and correct, given that the text of the Romanian legislation of private international law is clearly expressed and we believe that it cannot lead to a different interpretation.

The Court also had to solve the issue of the law applicable to legal relations subject to trial. The court correctly ruled that the applicable law is the Romanian law, in relation to the text of article 141 of Law no.105/1992 on the regulation of private international law relations “liability arisen from a collision occurred in a port or territorial waters is subject to the law applicable in the collision site.”

On the merits, the Court found, based on the given evidence, that the entire fault in causing the collision devolves on the defendant and considering that the elements of tort liability were met in this case, in accordance with article 673 of the Commercial Code, the defendant will be held liable to the extent of the justified claims.