AUSTRIAN DECISION: Single Directions Given to an Agent by his Principal do not constitute “Employment Contracts”.

Silvia BORTOLOTTI | AUSTRIA | 2006-01-12


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Said clause granted jurisdiction to German courts, whereas the agent claimed that Austrian Courts had exclusive jurisdiction on the case. According to the agent, his contractual relation had to be deemed as an employment contract, on the ground he had to comply with single directions of the principal and he had attended some advanced trainings held by the principal for his employees.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 5 of Regulation 44/2001 and, namely, to Article 20, the proceedings could only be brought before the Courts of the Member State in which the employee was domiciled, namely Austria.

In the decision issued on November 17, 2004 the Austrian Supreme Court refused to uphold the commercial agent’s point of view. Indeed, in the Court’s opinion the execution of single directions of the principal as well as the attendance to some advanced trainings were not sufficient in order to consider the agent as an employee. Therefore the Court recognised full validity to the provision which granted jurisdiction to the courts of the country in which the principal was domiciled.


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