Tobias is a DPhil candidate at Somerville College. Having taught Contract Law as a Stipendiary Lecturer for Somerville College and Conflict of Laws for St Catherine's College, he now works at the Institute for private international and comparative law of the University of Cologne.

Tobias holds degrees from the Universities of Cologne (LLM), Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Maîtrise en droit), and Oxford (MJur; MPhil), as well as a German State Exam. He came to Oxford as a German Rhodes scholar. Before completing the MPhil in 2016 with a thesis on 'The Internet in EU Private International Law' (published here), he passed the MJur in 2015, winning the Law Faculty's Clifford Chance Prize (Proxime Accessit) and the Diploma of the Hague Academy of International Law. Tobias has published on questions of Contract Law, IP Law, Comparative Law, Private International Law, and International Commercial Arbitration and is one of the authors of the 14th edition of Soergel, Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (Vol 13, CISG, Kohlhammer 2019). In Oxford, he is now working on his DPhil thesis on internet regulation by Private International Law.​ 

From 2016 to 2018, he was the General Editor of the Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal; he is one of the editors of

[Click here for the handouts on Contract Law.]


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  • T Lutzi, 'Shevill is dead, long live Shevill!' (2018) Law Quarterly Review 208 [Case Note]
    The European Court of Justice’s decision in Bolagsupplysningen (C-194/16) may have come as a surprise to many. For the first time, the court denied a claimant’s attempt to bring a claim for a tort committed online in their "home" country (country of domicile or incorporation) based on art.7(2) of the recast Brussels I Regulation. The court did so by refining two of its best-known—and most controversial—doctrines in the area of international jurisdiction for torts: the so-called "centre-of-interests approach" (introduced in eDate Advertising and Olivier Martinez (C-509/09 and C-161/10)) and the Shevill doctrine (which derives its name from Shevill (C-68/93)).
  • T Lutzi, '‘What’s a consumer?’ (Some) clarification on consumer jurisdiction, social-media accounts, and collective redress under the Brussels Ia Regulation' (2018) Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law 374 [Case Note]
    DOI: 10.1177/1023263X18783415
    There are few litigants who can claim to have contributed as much to the development of secondary EU law as Maximilian Schrems and Facebook. Schrems brought a first series of complaints against Facebook and the way in which the company uses the personal data of its users in 2011 and 2013, which ultimately led to the annulment of the ‘Safe Harbour’ framework between the EU and the USA. This litigation is still ongoing (based on a reformulated version of Schrems’ complaint) and has recently been referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for a second time. Meanwhile, Schrems also rallied support for a ‘class action’ against Facebook, for which he invited other users to assign him their claims with regard to the company’s alleged violations of privacy and data-protection law. After more than 20,000 users had assigned their claims to Schrems, he brought proceedings against Facebook in the courts of his domicile in Austria based on the rights of himself and seven other users. These proceedings, which are formally unrelated to the aforementioned lawsuit, have lead to the decision discussed in this note. Over the course of these different lawsuits, Schrems built a reputation as a privacy activist. He published two books, gave several talks and lectures, and has recently founded a non-profit organisation that uses ‘targeted and strategic litigation’ to enforce privacy and data protection laws across Europe. This level of professionalism raised the first of the two questions that the CJEU had to answer: could Schrems still rely on the special rules for consumers provided in (what are now)4 Articles 17–19 of Regulation No. 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (‘Brussels Ia’) and seize the courts of his own domicile? Were the Court to answer this question in the positive, it would then have to decide whether this forum would only be available for Schrems’ own claims or whether it could also be used to bring the different claims that had been assigned to him. In a nutshell, the CJEU held that although Schrems can still be considered a consumer, the resulting privilege of being able to seize the courts of his domicile would be limited to his own claims. This note will first present the procedural background of the decision in some more detail (Section 2) before critically discussing the two answers given by the Court (Sections 3 and 4). It will come to the conclusion that although these two answers seem to pull into different directions, they both align with the reasons underlying the consumer rules in Articles 17–19 Brussels Ia (Section 5).
  • T Lutzi, 'Nori Holdings: England & Wales High Court confirms ‘continuing validity of the decision in West Tankers’ under Brussels I Recast' (2018)
    Earlier this month, the English High Court rendered an interesting decision on the (un-)availability of anti-suit injunctions in protection of arbitration agreements under the Brussels I Recast Regulation (No 1215/2012). In Nori Holdings v Bank Otkritie [2018] EWHC 1343 (Comm), Males J critically discussed (and openly disagreed with) AG Wathelet’s Opinion on Case C-536/13 Gazprom and confirmed that such injunctions continue to not be available where they would restrain proceedings in another EU Member State.
  • T Lutzi, 'Fifty Shades of (Facebook) Blue – ECJ Renders Decision on Consumer Jurisdiction and Assigned Claims in Case C-498/16 Schrems v Facebook' (2018)
    Yesterday, the ECJ has rendered its decision in Case C-498/16 Maximilian Schrems v Facebook Ireland Limited. The case will be of interest to many readers of this blog as its facts are not only closely linked to the ECJ’s well-known decision in Case C-362/14 Schrems but also could have come straight out of a conflict-of-laws textbook.
  • T Lutzi, 'Forcing a Square Peg into a Round Hole – The Actio Pauliana and the Brussels Ia Regulation' (2018)
    In Case C-337/17 Feniks, the Court of Justice held that, under certain circumstances, special jurisdiction for an actio pauliana can be based on Art 7(1) Brussels Ia. The actio pauliana is an instrument provided by the national laws of several EU member states that allows the creditor to challenge fraudulent acts by their debtor that have been committed to the creditor’s detriment. The ECJ already had several opportunities to decide on the availability of individual grounds of special jurisdiction for such an action, but has reliably denied their availability. In today’s decision however, the Court confirmed the availability of special jurisdiction for matters relating to contract, contrary to the proposition of AG Bobek.
  • T Lutzi, 'Internet Cases in EU Private International Law—Developing a Coherent Approach' (2017) 66 International & Comparative Law Quarterly 687
    Internet communication has long been known to pose a challenge to private international law and its reliance on geographical connecting factors. This article looks at the problem from the perspective of EU private international law and argues that the way in which it has been accommodated by Regulations Brussels I, Rome I, and II conflicts with some of its central paradigms. It advances an alternative approach that would generally submit claims against information society service providers established in the EU to the jurisdiction and substantive laws of their ‘country of origin’ but make certain exceptions for private persons and consumers. The article argues that implementing such an approach would require little legislative change, be more faithful to the particularities of internet communication, and give greater effect to the central paradigms of EU private international law.
    ISBN: 0020-5893
  • T Lutzi, 'Gerichtsstand am Schadensort und Mosaikbetrachtung bei Wettbewerbsverletzungen im Internet (zu EuGH, 21.12.2016 – Rs. C-618/15)' (2017) IPRax 511 [Case Note]
    Once again, the Court of Justice was asked to determine the place of the damage under Art. 5 No. 3 Brussels I (now Art. 7(2) Brussels Ia) for a tort committed online. The decision can be criticised both for its uncritical reception of the mosaic approach and for the way in which it applied the latter to the present case of an infringement of competition law through offers for sale on websites operated in other member states. Regardless, the decision confirms the mosaic approach as the general rule to identify the place of the damage for torts committed through the internet.
  • T Lutzi, 'Digitalisate klassischer Gemälde – zwischen Lichtbildschutz, Eigentumseingriff und Gemeinfreiheit' (2017) GRUR 878–881 [Case Note]
  • T Lutzi, 'Arbeitnehmer- und Deliktsgerichtsstand bei treuwidriger Abwerbung von Kunden (zu OGH, Urteil v. 11.8.2015 – 4 Ob 78/15x)' (2017) IPRax 111 [Case Note]
    A claim brought against two former employees, who had allegedly misappropriated customer data of the claimant, and against a competitor, who had allegedly used said data to entice some of the claimant's customers, provided the Austrian Oberster Gerichtshof with an opportunity to interpret the rules on special jurisdiction for matters relating to individual contracts of employment in Art. 18–21 of the Brussels I Regulation (Art. 20–23 of the recast) and for matters relating to tort in Art. 5 No. 3 of the Brussels I Regulation (Art. 7(2) of the recast). Regarding the former, the court defined the scope of Art. 18–21 by applying the formula developed by the European Court of Justice in Brogsitter concerning the distinction between Art. 5 No. 1 and 3 (Art7(1) and (2) of the recast); regarding the latter, the court allowed the claim to be brought at the claimant's seat as this was the place where their capacity to do business was impaired. Both decisions should be welcomed.
  • T Lutzi, 'Introducing Imprévision into French Contract Law. A Paradigm Shift in Comparative Perspective' in Styns/Jansen (ed), The French Contract Law Reform: a Source of Inspiration? (Intersentia 2016)
    After more than a century of academic debate, the reform of French contract law—the last step of which was taken with ordonnance n° 2016-131 du 10 février 2016—is going to finally overrule the Cour de cassation’s infamous decision in Canal de Craponne, according to which even a 300-year-old contract cannot be modified to accommodate a change of circumstances that has rendered performance significantly more onerous for one of the parties. In order to assess the new provision for ‘imprévision’, this paper draws a comparison between French, English, and German law. It identifies three conceptually different approaches to the underlying tension between pacta sunt servanda and contractual fairness: the traditional French approach, which does not admit any exception to pacta sunt servanda, the English approach, which does accommodate a limited number of supervening circumstances by extending the existing exception for force majeure, and the German approach, which admits a specific exception for the problem of ‘imprévision’. The paper argues that the French reform is to be lauded for marking a paradigm shift from one of these approaches to another and critically discusses the forms this shift has taken in the projet d’ordonnance of 2015 and the final ordonnance of February 2016. This paper was presented in 2015 at the 20th Ius Commune Congress in Leuven. It has been amended in February 2016 to reflect the changes that ordonnance n° 2016-131 has brought to the part of the reform that this paper discusses.
    ISBN: 9781780684192
  • T Lutzi, 'Die Qualifikation des Anspruchs auf Zahlung einer Privatkopievergütung und das Merkmal der „Schadenshaftung“ im Rahmen des Art. 5 Nr. 3 EuGVVO 2001 (Art. 7 Abs. 2 EuGVVO) (zu EuGH, 21.4.2016, Rs. C-572/14 – Austro-Mechana ./. Amazon EU Sàrl u.a.)' (2016) IPRax 550 [Case Note]
    Seized with the question whether a claim for the 'blank-cassette levy' under § 42b of the Austrian Urheberrechtsgesetz (which transposes Art. 5(2) lit. b of the European Copyright Directive) qualifies as delictual within the meaning of Art. 5 No. 3 of the Brussels I Regulation (Art. 7(2) of the recast Regulation), the Court of Justice had an opportunity to refine its well-known Kalfelis formula, according to which an action falls under Art. 5 No. 3 if it ‘seeks to establish the liability of a defendant’ and is ‘not related to a “contract” within the meaning of Article 5 No. 1’. Holding that the claim in question sought to establish the liability of the defendant “since [it] is based on an infringement […] of the provisions of the UrhG”, the Court seems to have moved away from the more restrictive interpretation of this criterion it has applied in the past. Yet, given the implications of such a broad understanding of Art. 5 No. 3, not least for claims in unjust enrichment, a restrictive reading of the decision is proposed.
  • T Lutzi, 'The Protection of Arbitration Agreements within the EU after West Tankers, Gazprom, and the Brussels I Recast' (2015)
    The ECJ’s recent decision in Gazprom (Case C-536/13) is the latest addition to a series of judgments by the Court that have considerably reduced the remedies available to claimants who seek to enforce the negative dimension of an arbitration agreement, i.e. the other party’s obligation not to initiate court proceedings. They have created a coherent framework for the protection of arbitration agreements within the EU, which has been sanctioned and complemented by the recast of the Brussels I Regulation. Yet, a number of questions still remain open – some of which are unlikely to be answered any time soon.
  • T Lutzi, 'Der gleichberechtigte Zugang zur Ehe als Teil des französischen ordre public international (zu Cour de Cassation, ch. civ. 1re, 28.1.2015 – n° 13-50.059)' (2015) IPRax 381 [Case Note]
    On 28 January, the French Cour de cassation confirmed a highly debated decision of the Cour d’appel de Chambéry, according to which the equal access to marriage for homosexual couples is part of France’s ordre public international, allowing the court to disregard the Moroccan prohibition of same-sex marriage in spite of the Franco-Moroccan Agreement of 10 August 1981 and to apply Art. 202-1(2) of the French Code civil to the wedding of a homosexual Franco-Moroccan couple. The court expressly upheld the decision but indicated some possible limitations of its judgment in a concurrent press release.
  • T Lutzi and Raphaël Hebecker, 'Haftung des Arztes für Depressionen der Mutter bei Information über mögliche unheil­bare Erkrankung ihrer Kinder' (2015) 33 MedR 186 [Case Note]
    DOI: 10.1007/s00350-015-3946-x
    „Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news / hath but a losing office“ – der Überbringer schlechter Nachrichten kann nur verlieren. Umso erfreulicher, dass der BGH sich nun schützend vor jene stellt, die gerade im Bereich prädiktiver Gendiagnostik berufsmäßig schlechte Nachrichten überbringen. Im Ergebnis zutreffend verneint er Schadensersatzansprüche, die in der ungewöhnlichen, aber mit Blick auf die steigende Verfügbarkeit prädiktiver Gesundheitsinformationen zunehmend praxisrelevanten Konstellation einer „aufgedrängten“ Aufklärung in Betracht kommen. Die Begründung hätte indes vor allem hinsichtlich der Haftung für die (vom Berufungsgericht noch bejahte) Gesundheitsverletzung der Mutter auch anders ausfallen können.
  • T Lutzi and Raphaël Hebecker, 'Omnis definitio periculosa est.' (2015) 33 MedR 17
    DOI: 10.1007/s00350-014-3883-0
    „Jede Definition im Zivilrecht ist gefährlich; denn zu selten ist eine, die unumstößlich wäre.“ – diese Warnung Javolens in den libri epistularum fand Eingang in die Digesten. Gleichwohl bedient sich der Gesetzgeber in dem Bestreben „nach Prägnanz, nach Klarstellung und nach Abgrenzung des mit einem Ausdruck gemeinten Gegenstandes“ regelmäßig der Figur der Legaldefinition. Dabei nimmt er gerade bei Einführung von Legaldefinitionen in bestehende Gesetze in Kauf, dass sich diese nicht uneingeschränkt mit dem bereits bestehenden Normtext und seiner in Wissenschaft und Rechtsprechung etablierten Auslegung vertragen oder gar zu Widersprüchen führen. Mit der Definition des „Patienten“ in § 630a Abs. 1 BGB hat der Gesetzgeber im Februar 2013 in das BGB nun eine Definition eingeführt, die sich mit der für den Fall der Behandlung eines minderjährigen Kindes anerkannten Figur des Behandlungsvertrags zu Gunsten Dritter kaum in Einklang bringen lässt. Sie erzeugt immer dann einen Widerspruch, wenn die Umstände die Annahme eines Vertragsschlusses durch den Behandelten selbst nicht zulassen; Im Ergebnis kann dieser nur durch eine Auslegung des Patientenbegriffs entgegen dem Wortlaut des Gesetzes aufgelöst werden.
  • T Lutzi, 'Cross-border Defamation auf Wikipedia' (2014) 60 RIW 810
    Persönlichkeitsrechtsverletzungen durch unerwünschte oder falsche Informationen in der freien Enzyklopädie Wikipedia beschäftigen nicht nur deutsche Gerichte schon seit Jahren. Obwohl entsprechende Fälle schon wegen der weltweiten Abrufbarkeit von Wikipedia-Inhalten so gut wie immer einen grenzüberschreitenden Bezug aufweisen, spielten Fragen des Internationalen Zivilprozessrechts und des IPR in den meisten Entscheidungen bisher nur eine Nebenrolle. Mit der Zunahme derartiger Klagen werden jedoch insbesondere auch kollisionsrechtliche Aspekte in Zukunft stark an Bedeutung gewinnen, wie etwa eine jüngst in Kalifornien gegen 54 Wikipedia-Autoren erhobene Schadensersatzklage zeigt. Gerade aus Sicht des deutschen IPR erweist sich im Umgang mit entsprechenden Fällen eine sorgfältige Berücksichtigung der Charakteristika Wikipedias als zielführend.
  • T Lutzi, 'Das neue französische IPR der gleichgeschlechtlichen Ehe und der ordre public international (zu Cour d'appel de Chambéry, 22.10.2013 – n° 13/02.258)' (2014) IPRax 292 [Case Note]
    In a lawsuit that attracted huge media attention, the French Cour d’appel de Chambéry has confirmed France’s first lower court decision concerning the relation between the new Art. 202-1 § 2 of the Code civil (which provides that same-sex marriage is allowed if only the law of the nationality or the law of the residence of one of the spouses allows it) and bilateral treaties that provide exclusively for the application of the law of the nationality of each spouse. Although the court recognized the superiority of these treaties to the provisions of the Code civil under Art. 55 of the French Constitution, it ruled that the Franco-Moroccan Agreement of 10 August 1981 does not apply to the marriage of a Franco-Moroccan same-sex couple as the prohibition of same-sex marriages contradicts French international public policy.
  • T Lutzi and Barbara Dauner-Lieb, Vom Wert des Systemverständnisses – Erfahrungen aus dem zivilrechtlichen Seminar »Examenswissen auf Wikipedia« an der Universität zu Köln (JA 2013)
    Ein kurzer Blick in eine juristische Fachbuchhandlung genügt, um festzustellen: Kaum etwas verkauft sich besser als die Reduktion und Strukturierung von juristischen Studieninhalten in Form Karteikarten, Schemata und Skripten. Die Preislisten etablierter Repetitorien sprechen eine ähnliche Sprache. Warum aber ist fast jeder Student bereit, horrende Summen in derartige Strukturierungsdienstleistungen zu investieren? Sollten Studierende nicht – jedenfalls auf der Basis eines sinnvoll organisierten Grundstudiums – selbst in der Lage sein, den in der Menge schon nach einigen Semestern durchaus beachtlichen Stoff selbst auf die wesentlichen Fragestellungen und Problemkreise zu reduzieren, um ihn anschließend strukturiert zu vertiefen? Antworten mögen Erfahrungen geben, die der Verfasser im Rahmen eines gemeinsam mit Barbara Dauner-Lieb und dem neu gegründeten Kölner Kompetenzzentrum für juristisches Lehren und Lernen veranstalteten Seminars mit dem Titel „Examenswissen auf Wikipedia“ sammeln konnte, bei dem sich knapp 20 Teilnehmer an der Erstellung von Wikipedia-Artikeln zu zivilrechtlichen Instituten oder Problemkreisen versucht haben.
  • T Lutzi, 'Aktuelle Rechtsfragen zum Handel mit virtuellen Gegenständen in Computerspielen' (2012) NJW 2070
    Der Handel mit virtuellen Gegenständen aus Online-Spielwelten boomt seit Jahren – allen von den Anbietern entsprechender Spiele aufgestellten Verboten zum Trotz. Marktführer Blizzard hat reagiert und ermöglicht es den Spielern seines neuesten Titels nun, derartige Geschäfte direkt über die Spieloberfläche durchzuführen. Die auf diesem Weg geschlossenen Verträge werfen kollisions- und sachrechtliche Fragen auf, bei deren Beantwortung insbesondere die geänderte Politik der Spielanbieter im Umgang mit diesen Geschäften zu berücksichtigen ist.
  • T Lutzi, 'Die Enzyklopädie und der Elfenbeinturm – wie Wikipedia und Wissenschaft zueinander finden können' in Wikimedia Germany (ed), Alles über Wikipedia (Hoffmann & Campe 2011)
  • T Lutzi, 'Exklusionisten gegen Inklusionisten – ein enzyklopädischer Bruderkrieg' in Wikimedia Germany (ed), Alles über Wikipedia (Hoffmann & Campe 2011)

Research Interests

  • Private International Law
  • International Commercial Arbitration
  • Comparative Law
  • Contract Law
  • IP Law
  • IT Law

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Contract, Conflict of Laws

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