13. Where appropriate, an article shall be included at the beginning of the enacting terms to define the subject matter and scope of the act.
The ‘subject matter’ is what the act deals with, whilst ‘scope’ refers to the categories of situations of fact or of law and the persons to which the act applies.
A first article, defining the subject matter and scope, is common in international agreements and is also often found in Community acts. Whether or not it is useful should be determined on a case-by-case basis.
It is certainly not useful if it merely paraphrases the title. In contrast, it may provide the reader with information which was not included in the title in the interests of brevity but enables him to determine, from the outset, whether or not he is concerned by the act. For precisely that reason, care must be taken not to mislead the reader.
Sometimes the distinction between scope and definition is not clear. In the following example, the definition given also states the scope of the act:
That article could just as easily read ‘Article 1 — This Directive applies to any motor vehicle intended [remainder unchanged] …’, with the sentence ending with the words ‘hereinafter ‘‘vehicle’’ ’. This solution is normally to be preferred. It makes it possible to state the scope more clearly and more directly.