Droit international général

The CJEU renders its first decision on the EAPO Regulation – Case C-555/18

Conflictoflaws - jeu, 11/14/2019 - 11:34

Carlos Santaló Goris, Researcher at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law, and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Luxembourg, offers a summary and an analysis of the CJEU Case C-555/18, K.H.K. v. B.A.C., E.E.K.

Introduction

On 7 November 2019, the CJEU released the very first decision on Regulation 655/2014 establishing a European Account Preservation Order (“EAPO Regulation”). From the perspective of European civil procedure, this instrument is threefold innovative. It is the first uniform provisional measure; it is also the very first ex parte piece of European civil procedure (and reverses the Denilauer doctrine); and the first one which, though indirectly, tackles civil enforcement of judicial decisions at European level.  This preliminary reference made by a Bulgarian court gave the CJEU the opportunity to clarify certain aspects of the EAPO Regulation.

Facts of the case

The main facts of the case were substantiated before the District Court of Sofia.

A creditor requested a Bulgarian payment order to recover certain debts. Simultaneously the creditor decided to request an EAPO in order to attach the defendants’ bank accounts in Sweden.

The payment order could not be served on the debtor because his domicile was unknown. In such cases, Bulgarian law prescribes that the debtor must initiate procedures on the substance of the case. If the creditor does not go ahead with such proceedings, the court would repeal/withdraw the payment order. The District Court of Sofia informed the creditor about this, urging the initiation of the proceedings. At the same time, the District Court of Sofia referred to the President of the District Court of Sofia for the commencement of separate proceedings. The President of the District Court of Sofia considered that, for the purposes of the EAPO Regulation, it was not necessary to initiate secondary proceedings. On the president’s view, the payment order, albeit unenforceable, constituted an authentic instrument in the sense of the EAPO Regulation. The District Court of Sofia considered that the payment order had to enforceable to be considered an authentic instrument.

As a result of these opposing views the District Court of Sofia decided to refer the following questions to the CJEU:

  • Is a payment order for a monetary claim under Article 410 of the Grazhdanski protsesualen kodeks (Bulgarian Civil Procedure Code; GPK) which has not yet acquired the force of res judicata an authentic instrument within the meaning of Article 4(10) of Regulation (EU) No 655/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014?
  • If a payment order under Article 410 GPK is not an authentic instrument, must separate proceedings in accordance with Article 5(a) of Regulation (EU) No 655/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 be initiated by application outside the proceedings under Article 410 GPK?
  • If a payment order under Article 410 GPK is an authentic instrument, must the court issue its decision within the period laid down in Article 18(1) of Regulation (EU) No 655/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 if a provision of national law states that periods are suspended during judicial vacations?

The enforceability of the payment order

The answer to the first question constituted the core of the judgment’s reasoning. The Court examined if the “enforceability” was a precondition for the payment order to be considered an authentic instrument. As the Court rightly pointed out, the EAPO Regulation does not clearly state if the acts in question (judgments, court settlements, and authentic instruments) have to be enforceable (para. 39). In order to answer this question, the CJEU followed the reasoning of AG Szpunar in his Opinion which is based on a teleological, systemic and historical interpretation of the EAPO Regulation (para. 41). In its teleological analysis, the Court stated that a broad understanding of the concept of title could undermine the balance between the claimants’ and the defendants’ interests (para. 40). Creditors with a title do not have to prove, for instance, the likelihood of success on the substance of the claim (fumus boni iuris). Consequently, including creditors with a non-enforceable title in the more lenient regime would allow a larger number of creditors to more “easily” access an EAPO; ultimately favouring the claimant’s position (para. 40). Concerning the systemic analysis, the CJEU referred to Article 14(1) of the EAPO Regulation. This provision is the only one in the EAPO Regulation which acknowledges certain rights to creditors with a non-enforceable title. In the Court’s view, this was just an exception. For the rest of the cases, in which there is no such distinction between creditors with and without enforceable titles, only the former would be considered to fit the concept of title. Lastly, the historical analysis was based on the Commission Proposal of the EAPO Regulation. Unlike in the final text of the regulation, the proposal made a clear and explicit differentiation between the regimes applicable to creditors with an enforceable title, and those without one. Creditors without an enforceable title were subject to further prerequisites (e.g. satisfaction of the fumus boni iuris). A reading of the final text in the light of these travaux préparatoires might suggest, on the Court’s view, that the current differentiation between creditors is also based on the enforceability of title. On this basis, the CJEU concluded that the title necessarily had to be enforceable, in order for an act to be considered an authentic instrument.

Autonomous definition of “substance of the claim”

In the second question, the Bulgarian court asked if, in the event that the payment order were not an authentic instrument, it would be necessary to initiate separate proceedings on the substance of the claim. Preservation orders can be requested before, during, or after proceedings on the substance of the claim.  Those creditors who request a preservation order ante demandam have a deadline of “30 days of the date on which [they] lodged the application or within 14 days of the date of the issue of the Order, whichever date is the later” (Article 10(1)) in which to initiate  proceedings on the substance of the matter. It is not clear what should be understood by “proceedings on the substance of the claim”. Recital 13 of the EAPO Regulation, though not a binding provision, states that this term covers “any proceedings aimed at obtaining an enforceable title”.  In the present case, the creditor obtained a payment order. Nevertheless, such order did not become enforceable because it could not be personally notified to the debtor. The only option left to the creditor was to initiate separate proceedings to pursue the claim. In the event that the creditor did not initiate the proceedings, the payment order would be set aside by the court. In the present case, it was not clear whether the first proceedings by which the creditor obtained a payment order, or the secondary proceedings necessary to maintain the payment order were the proceedings on the substance of the matter. The CJEU relied on the “flexible” interpretation contained in Recital 13. The Court considered the “initial” proceedings in which the creditor obtained a payment order to be proceedings on the substance of the claim. Therefore, for the purposes of the EAPO Regulation, it was not necessary to initiate secondary proceedings.

Time limit to render the decision on the EAPO application

Finally, the CJEU addressed whether a judicial vacation could be considered an “exceptional circumstance” (Article 45), justifying the delivery of the decision on the application of the EAPO outside the due time limit. The first issue concerned the way the question was formulated by the Bulgarian court. The court asks, in the event that the payment order be considered an authentic instrument, whether the time limit of Article 18(1) should be respected. If the payment order is an authentic instrument, the applicable time limit is the one under Article 18(2). This time limit is shorter (five days against the ten days of Article 18(1)), because the court that examines the EAPO applications does not have to evaluate the existence of the fumus boni iuris (Article 7(2)).  Therefore, it is submitted that Article 18(2) should have been mentioned instead of Article 18(1) in the referring court’s question. Furthermore, taking into account the way in which the question was asked, it would only have had to be answered by the Court in the event that the payment order had been considered an authentic instrument (“If a payment order under (…) is an authentic instrument”). This was not the case, and thus the CJEU was not “obliged” to reply to the question. Despite this, the Court decided to answer. The CJEU considered that judicial vacations were not “exceptional circumstances” in the sense of Article 45. In the Court’s view, an interpretation to the contrary would have opposed the principle of celerity underpinning the EAPO Regulation (para. 55).

Conclusions 

From a general perspective, this judgment constitutes a good example of the balances that the CJEU has to make in order to maintain the status quo between the defendant and the claimant. One the hand, ensuring that the EAPO achieves its ultimate objectives in terms of efficiency, on the other, assuring the proper protection of the defendant. This search for an equilibrium between opposing interests also seems to be a general constant in other CJEU decisions concerning European uniform proceedings, especially those regarding the European Payment Order.

Observing the Court’s reasoning in detail, we can clearly distinguish these two contrasting approaches. On the other hand, the Court adopts a pro-defendant approach regarding the first question, and a pro-claimant position on the one hand in its approach to the second and third questions.

In the first question, the Court adopted a pro-defendant approach. As the CJEU rightly remarks, the wording employed was unclear in asserting whether the title has to be enforceable or not. Anecdotally, only the Spanish version of the EAPO Regulation mentions that the authentic instrument has to be enforceable.  As I already mentioned in my commentary on the AG Opinion in this case, this might be a mistranslation extracted from the Spanish version of Regulation 805/2004 establishing a European Enforcement Order Regulation. From the defendant’s perspective, the EAPO Regulation is relatively aggressive. Since the preservation order is granted ex parte, defendants can only react once it is already effective. This puts a lot of pressure on the defendants, especially if they are a business requiring liquidity that might prefer to pay than to apply for a remedy and await to the proceedings on the substance of the case. It is for that reason that it was necessary to establish certain “barriers” to impede potential abuses: the preliminary prerequisites (Article 7). In those cases in which the creditor has already an enforceable title, the EAPO is merely the prelude to an incipient enforcement. However, if there is not such a title, or if the title is not yet enforceable, in that it is for instance a payment order, then the issuance of a preservation order must be the object of further prerequisites, since it is not clear if the right that the creditor claims exists.  It is for that reason that the prima facie examination of the application includes an evaluation of the likelihood of success on the substance of the claim, and the provision of a security, which might deter abusive claimants from applying for an EAPO.  Opening the most lenient regime to those creditors with a non-enforceable title would tip the balance in favour of the creditors.   We might think about how the decision affects creditors who have obtained a title (e.g. judicial decisions) that is not yet enforceable. The existence of a title would serve as evidence of the likelihood of success on the substance of the claim. Regarding the security, judges could except creditors without a title from providing the security “attending to the circumstances of the case” (Article 12(2)). Having a non-enforceable title might be also one of those circumstances. Only, judges might require a later deadline to deliver the decision on the preservation order (Article 10(1)). Therefore, materially, the impact of the decision might not harm the status of creditors with unenforceable titles as much.

For the two remaining (and more technical) questions, the Court stands on the creditors’ side. In the second question, the CJEU followed the guidance offered by the Preamble. In this particular case, Recital 13 entails a broad interpretation of “substance of the claim”, encompassing summary proceedings. Despite the fact that the recitals of the Preamble are not binding, the Court relied on them. Behind this decision, we might find the CJEU’s acknowledgement of the popularity of such proceedings at the domestic level, especially in debt recovery claims, including in regards to the European Payment Order. A decision to the contrary might have discouraged creditors from using the EAPO Regulation. Concerning the third question, the restrictive understanding of “exceptional circumstances” is not surprising. The CJEU usually tends to adopt a restrictive approach to any “exceptions” foreseen in European legislative provisions, which avoids giving domestic judges leeway to abuse them, which would ultimately undermine the objectives of the Regulation.

There are still many non dites aspects for which the CJEU might have something to say.  Recent domestic case law on the EAPO Regulation is good proof of that. Nonetheless, domestic courts often prefer to find out themselves the solutions for such inquiries, adopting their own interpretive solutions, largely mirroring their national procedural traditions. Hopefully, in the coming future, a court might instead opt for a preliminary reference.

 

NMBS v Mbutuku Kanyeba et al. A very relaxed CJEU on the notion of ‘contract’ (in EU transport law).

GAVC - jeu, 11/14/2019 - 01:01

To scholars of private international law, the CJEU judgment last week in Joined cases C-349/18 to C-351/18 NMBS v Mbutuku Kanyeba et al might seem like ending us up in a parallel universe, where unlike in conflicts land, core concepts of private law are understood without much ado.

Additional surcharges were claimed against claimants for having travelled by train without a transport ticket. For either Regulation 1371/2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations and Directive 93/13 on unfair terms in consumer contracts, the existence of a ‘contract’ is a clear prerequisite for the application at all of these rules. The AG had opined that the EU rules at issue did not define ‘contract’ and therefore had to defer to the applicable national laws.

The CJEU however has much less hesitation, noting at 36 that ‘the word ‘contract’ is generally understood to designate an agreement by consensus intended to produce legal effects. Secondly, in the context of the field covered by that regulation and in the light of the wording of that provision, that effect consists principally in the obligation imposed on the rail undertaking to provide to the passenger one or more transport services and the obligation imposed on the passenger to pay the price of that transport, unless the service is provided free of charge’.

The Court gives no further explanation. How a ‘contract’ in this context can be ‘generally understood’ as being what the Court says it is (with all the uncertainty relating e.g. to ‘consensus’ and to the reciprocity element it seems to imply) must be a surprise to all those current and past studying ‘contract’ in the conflict of laws. Of course, in the EU rules at issue there is no delineation with ‘tort’ to consider, and the Court in the further paras seems to hint at adopting a flexible interpretation so as to protect passengers (without a contract, they have no rights), the matter of factly approach to the definition must be surprising.

Geert.

 

Ensuring quality of ODR platforms: a new (voluntary) certification scheme in France

Conflictoflaws - mer, 11/13/2019 - 17:10

By Alexandre Biard, Erasmus University Rotterdam (ERC project – Building EU Civil Justice)

In a previous post published in November 2018, we presented policy discussions that were (at that time) going on in France, and aimed at introducing a new regulatory framework for ODR platforms. As also explained in an article published in September 2019 (in French), ODR tends to become a new market in France with a multiplication of players offering services of diverging qualities. Today this market is in need of regulation to ensure the quality of the services provided, and to foster trust among its users.

The Act in question was finally passed on 23 March 2019. Rules on ODR certification were recently detailed in a decree published on 27 October 2019. They establish a new voluntary certification scheme for ODR platforms (after discussions, the scheme was kept non-compulsory). ODR platforms wishing to obtain certification must bring evidence that (among other things) they comply with data protection rules and confidentiality, that they operate in an independent and impartial manner, or that the procedures they used are fair and efficient. ODR platforms will be certified by one of the COFRAC-accredited bodies (Comité français d’accréditation). In practice, this means that contrary to what currently exists for the certification of consumer ADR bodies in France for which a single authority is competent (Commission d’Evaluation et de Contrôle de la Médiation de la Consommation) several certification bodies will operate in parallel for ODR platforms (however a certification request can only be directed at one certification body, and not to multiple). Together, certification bodies will be in charge of certifying ODR platforms and will supervise their activities on an on-going basis. Certification is given for three years (renewable). Certified platforms are allowed to display a logo on their websites (practicalities still need to be further detailed by the Ministry of Justice).

Accredited bodies will have to submit annual reports to the Ministry of Justice in which they will have to specify the number of certifications granted (or withdrew), their surveillance activities, and the systemic problems they faced or identified. The updated list of ODR platforms complying with the certification criteria will be available on the website www.justice.fr.

The future will tell whether ODR platforms are incentivized to seek certification (as it is expected today) or whether they will prefer to keep their regulatory freedom instead. More generally, one will see whether this step can indeed foster trust and ensure high-quality services within the emerging ODR market.

PrivatBank v Kolomoisky and Boholiubov. The Court of Appeal reverses the High Court ia on abuse of the anchor mechanism. Further consideration, too, of the reflexive effect of Article 28’s lis alibi pendens, and of Article 34.

GAVC - mar, 11/12/2019 - 01:01

The Court of Appeal in [2019] EWCA Civ 1708 has reversed [2018] EWHC 3308 (Ch) PrivatBank v Kolomoisky and Boholiubov et al which I reviewed here. When I tweeted the outcome on the day of release I said it would take a little while for a post to appear, which indeed it has. Do please refer to my earlier post for otherwise the comments below will be gobbledegook.

As a reminder: the High Court had set aside a worldwide freezing order (‘WFO’) granted earlier at the request of Ukraine’s PrivatBank, against Ihor Kolomoisky and Hennadiy Boholiubov – its two former main shareholders.

Fancourt J’s judgment implied in essence first of all, the Lugano Convention’s anchor defendant mechanism, concluding that ‘any artificial fulfilment (or apparent fulfilment) of the express requirements of Article 6.1 is impermissible, and this includes a case where the sole object of the claim against the anchor defendant is to remove the foreign defendant from the jurisdiction of domicile. Bringing a hopeless claim is one example of such abuse, but the abuse may be otherwise established by clear evidence. In principle, the fact that there is a good arguable case against the anchor defendant should not prevent a co-defendant from establishing abuse on some other ground, including that the “sole object” of the claim is to provide jurisdiction against a foreign domiciled co-defendant.

The English Defendants serving as anchor, were not considered legitimate targets in their own right and hence the ‘sole object’ objection was met. 

The Court of Appeal in majority (Lord Newey at 270 ff dissenting) disagreed and puts particular emphasis on the non-acceptance by Parliament and Council at the time of adoption of Brussels I, of an EC proposal verbatim to include a sole object test like was done in Article (then) 6(2) (it also refers to drafters and rapporteur Jenard making a bit of a muddle of the stand-alone nature, or not, of the sole object test). Following extensive consideration of authority it decides there is no stand-alone sole object test in (now) Article 8(1) Brussels I (or rather, its Lugano equivalent) but rather that this test is implied in the Article’s condition of connectivity: at 110: ‘we accept Lord Pannick’s analysis that, as shown by the references to Kalfelis and Réunion,..that the vice in using article 6(1) to remove a foreign defendant from the courts of the state of his domicile was met by a close connection condition.’

Obiter it held at 112 ff that even if the sole object test does exist, it was not met in casu, holding at 147 that the ability to obtain disclosure from the English Defendants provided a real reason for bringing these proceedings against them.

Fancourt J had also added obiter that had he accepted jurisdiction against the Switzerland-based defendants on the basis of the anchor mechanism, he would have granted a stay in those proceedings, applying the lis alibi pendens rule of Lugano reflexively, despite the absence of an Article 34 mechanism in Lugano. The Court of Appeal clearly had to discuss this given that it did accept jurisdiction against the Switserland-based defendants, and held that the High Court was right in deciding in principle for reflexive application, at 178: ‘This approach does not subvert the Convention but, on the contrary, is in line with its purposes, to achieve certainty in relation to jurisdiction and to avoid the risk of inconsistent judgments.’

That is a finding which stretches the mutual trust principle far beyond Brussels /Lugano parties and in my view is far from clear.

However, having accepted lis alibi pendens reflexively in principle, the Court of Appeal nevertheless held it should not do so in casu, at 200 as I also discuss below: ‘the fact that consolidation was not possible was an important factor militating against the grant of a stay, when it came to the exercise of discretion as to whether to do so’.

Finally, stay against the English defendants was granted by the High Court on the basis of A34 BIa, for reasons discussed in my earlier post. On this too, the Court of Appeal disagreed.

Firstly, on the issue of ‘related’ actions: At 183: ‘The Bank argues that the actions are not “related” in the sense that it is expedient to hear and determine them together, because consolidation of the Bank’s claim with Mr Kolomoisky’s claim in the defamation proceedings would not be possible. It is submitted that unless the two actions can be consolidated and actually heard together, it is not “expedient” to hear and determine them together. In other words, the Bank submits that expediency in this context means practicability.’ The Court of Appeal disagreed: At 191: ‘The word “expedient” is more akin to “desirable”, as Rix J put it, that the actions “should” be heard together, than to “practicable” or “possible”, that the actions “can” be heard together. We also consider that there is force in Ms Tolaney’s point that, if what had been intended was that actions would only be “related” if they could be consolidated in one jurisdiction, then the Convention would have made express reference to the requirement of consolidation, as was the case in article 30(2) of the Recast Brussels Regulation.’

Further, on the finding of ‘sound administration of justice’: at 211:  ‘the unavailability in the Ukrainian court of consolidation of the Bank’s current claim with Mr Kolomoisky’s defamation claim remains a compelling reason for refusing to grant a stay. In particular, the fact that the Bank’s claim would have to be brought before the Ukrainian commercial court rather than before the Pechersky District Court in which the defamation proceedings are being heard means that if a stay were granted, the risk of inconsistent findings in these different courts would remain. Furthermore, we accept Lord Pannick’s overall submission that, standing back in this case, it would be entirely inappropriate to stay an English fraud claim in favour of Ukrainian defamation claims, in circumstances where the fraud claim involves what the judge found was fraud and money laundering on an “epic scale” ‘

Finally, at 213, ‘that the English claim against Mr Kolomoisky and Mr Bogolyubov and the English Defendants should be allowed to proceed, it inevitably follows that the BVI Defendants are necessary or proper parties to that claim and that the judge was wrong to conclude that the proceedings against the BVI Defendants should be set aside or stayed.’

One or two issues in this appeal deserve to go up to the CJEU. I have further analysis in a forthcoming paper on A34.

Geert.

(Handbook of) European Private International Law – 2nd ed. 2016, Chapter 2, Heading 2.2.14.5

 

 

Saugmandsgaard ØE in Libuše Králová v Primera Air Scandinavia: the Feniks ‘contractual relation’ train thunders on, yet restraint is shown on the consumer section, even for package travel.

GAVC - lun, 11/11/2019 - 08:08

In C-215/18 Libuše Králová v Primera Air Scandinavia, Saugmandsgaard ØE AG now unsurprisingly (following the CJEU predecent of Feniks and Flightright), advised that in a package of services acquired from a travel agent, where there is no direct agreement with the airline carrying out the flight part of the package, there is a ‘contract’ between the individual and the airline within the meaning of Article 7(1) BIa.

At 37 the AG emphasises the element of predictability on the part of the airline, who should not be surprised to be sued by the individual whom they agree with the travel agency to transport, both in the place of take-off and landing, per Zurich Insurance.

However unlike the Commission, the AG supports a less extensive interpretation of the consumer section. Package travel as defined in Directive 90/314, unlike simple tickets for transport only, are covered by the protective provisions of Article 17 ff BIa. Yet the AG proposes to extend that regime only to the direct relationship between the travel agent and the consumer, not the airline who merely carries out the transport side of the arrangement. At 48 ff the AG sets out his reasons for the limitation: the emphasis in the consumer section on the very consumer and professional party who concluded the contract (48-49); the distinction with Maletic since in the case at issue claimant is after the airline company only, not an in solidum finding against the agency and the airline (5-52); and of course the need for strict interpretation.

Note of course the different balance struck by the AG as opposed to e.g. the High Court in Bonnie Lackey.

Geert.

(Handbook of) European private international law, 2nd ed. 2016, Chapter 2, Heading 2.2.8.2.

Out now: Yearbook of Private International Law, Vol. XX (2018/19)

Conflictoflaws - jeu, 11/07/2019 - 21:52

The XXth volume of the Yearbook of Private International Law has just been published. Ilaria Pretelli, who has edited this volume together with Andrea Bonomi and Gian Paolo Romano, has been so kind as to provide not only the following teaser but also the Table of Contents and Foreword to conflictoflaws.net.

The new 20th volume (2018/2019) of the Yearbook of Private International Law contains over 30 articles on the most important aspects of private international law by authors from all over the world. You will find inspiring articles on the law of non-recognised states, the American restatement on international arbitration, the recognition of so-called marriage for all in Europe and, highly topical, a contribution to the Hague Judgments Convention and the reform of the Brussels IIa Regulation.

As always, the National Reports with information on relevant legal developments worldwide, News from the Hague, the case law section and also the forum are highly interesting and unique.

Mutual Trust v Public Policy : 1-0

Conflictoflaws - mer, 11/06/2019 - 13:29

In a case concerning the declaration of enforceability of a UK costs order, the Supreme Court of the Hellenic Republic decided that the ‘excessive’ nature of the sum (compared to the subject matter of the dispute) does not run contrary to public policy. This judgment signals a clear-cut shift from the previous course followed both by the Supreme and instance courts. The decisive factor was the principle of mutual trust within the EU. The calibre of the judgment raises the question, whether courts will follow suit in cases falling outside the ambit of EU law.

[Areios Pagos, Nr. 579/2019, unreported]

THE FACTS

The claimant is a Greek entrepreneur in the field of mutual funds and investment portfolio management. His company is registered at the London Stock Exchange. The defendant is a well known Greek journalist. On December 9, 2012, a report bearing her name was published in the digital version of an Athens newspaper, containing defamatory statements against the claimant. The claimant sued for damages before the High Court of Justice, Queens Bench Division. Although properly served, the respondent did not appear in the proceedings. The court allowed the claim and assigned a judge with the issuance of an order, specifying the sum of the damages and costs. The judge ordered the default party to pay the amount of 40.000 ? for damages, and 76.290,86 ? for costs awarded on indemnity basis. The defendant did not appeal.

The UK order was declared enforceable in Greece [Athens CFI 1204/2015, unreported]. The judgment debtor appealed successfully: The Athens CoA ruled that the amount to be paid falls under the category of ‚excessive‘ costs orders, which are disproportionate to the subject matter value in accordance with domestic perceptions and legal provisions.  Therefore, the enforcement of the UK order would be unbearable for public policy reasons [Athens CoA 1228/2017, unreported]. The judgment creditor lodged an appeal on points of law before the Supreme Court.

THE RULING

The Supreme Court was called to examine whether the Athens CoA interpreted properly the pertinent provisions of the Brussels I Regulation (which was the applicable regime in the case at hand), i.e. Article 45 in conjunction with Art. 34 point 1. The SC began its analysis by an extensive reference to judgments of the CJEU, combined with recital 16 of the Brussels I Regulation, which encapsulates the Mutual Trust principle. In particular, it mentioned the judgments in the following cases: C-7/98, Krombach, Recital 36; C-38/98, Renault, Recital 29; C-302/13, flyLAL-Lithuanian Airs, Recital 45-49; C-420/07, Orams, Recital 55), and C-681/13, Diageo, Recital 44. It then embarked on a scrutiny of the public policy clause, in which the following aspects were highlighted:

  • The spirit of public policy should not be guided by domestic views; the values of European Civil Procedure, i.e. predominantly the European integration, have to be taken into consideration, even if this would mean downsizing domestic interests and values. Hence, the court of the second state may not deny recognition and enforcement on the grounds of perceptions which run contrary to the European perspective.
  • The gravity of the impact in the domestic legal order should be of such a degree, which would lead to a retreat from the basic principle of mutual recognition.
  • Serious financial repercussions invoked by the defendant may not give rise to sustain the public policy defense.
  • In principle, a foreign costs order is recognized as long as it does not function as a camouflaged award of punitive damages. In this context, the second court may not examine whether the foreign costs order is ‘excessive’ or not. The latter is leading to a review to its substance.
  • The proportionality principle should be interpreted in a twofold fashion: It is true that high costs may hinder effective access to Justice according to Article 6.1 ECHR and Article 20 of the Greek Constitution. However, on an equal footing, the non-compensation of the costs paid by the claimant in the foreign proceedings leads to exactly the same consequence.
  • In conclusion, the proper interpretation of Article 34 point 1 of the Brussels I Regulation should lead to a disengagement of domestic perceptions on costs from the public policy clause. Put differently, the Greek provisions on costs do not form part of the core values of the domestic legislator.

In light of the above remarks, the SC reversed the appellate ruling. The fact that the proportionate costs under the Greek Statutes of Lawyer’s fees would lead to a totally different and significantly lower amount (2.400 in stead of 76.290,86 ?) is not relevant or decisive in the case at hand. The proper issue to be examined is whether the costs ordered were necessary for the proper conduct and participation in the proceedings, and also whether the calculation of costs had taken place in accordance with the law and the evidence produced. Applying the proportionality principle in the way exercised by the Athens CoA amounts to a re-examination on the merits, which is totally unacceptable in the field of application of the Brussels I Regulation.

COMMENTS

As mentioned in the introduction, the ruling of the SC departs from the line followed so far, which led to a series of judgments denying recognition and enforcement of foreign (mostly UK) orders and arbitral awards [in detail see my commentary published earlier in our blog, and my article: Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Greece under the Brussels I-bis Regulation,  in Yearbook of Private International Law, Volume 16 (2014/2015), pp. 349 et seq]. The decision will be surely hailed by UK academics and practitioners, because it grants green light to the enforcement of judgments and orders issued in this jurisdiction.

The ruling applies however exclusively within the ambit of the Brussels I Regulation. It remains to be seen whether Greek courts will follow the same course in cases not falling under the Regulation’s scope, e.g. arbitral awards, third country judgments, or even UK judgments and orders, whenever Brexit becomes reality.

DynamInt: Postdoctoral Fellowships at Humboldt-University Berlin

Conflictoflaws - mer, 11/06/2019 - 07:00
The new Doctoral Training Group DynamInt at the Faculty of Law at Humboldt-University encourages young researchers with a doctoral / PhD degree in law to apply for fully paid research stay for up to 6 months.
Tasks and Research Topic
The PostDoc is supposed to pursue her/his research project in the field of European Law. She/he is also expected to interact with the group of young researchers, who all work on their dissertation projects within the thematic framework of harmonization and plurality tendencies in the EU.
Duration
The research stay should last between 3 and 6 months.
Working condition
The PostDoc receives a salary of full-time position (salary grade 13) and will be provided with a fully equipped working place.
Research-Teaching ratio
There is no teaching assignment to the PostDoc. However, if she/he wishes to teach classes, this is of course possible.
Residence
The Post Doc is expected to spend most or at least 2/3 of her/his time at DynamInt in Berlin or its surroundings.
Requirements
Beside a doctoral/PhD degree, applicants should at least have a solid listening comprehension in German as it serves as the lingua franca of the Training Group.
Deadline
There is no specific deadline. Applications can be submitted at any time.
Submission
Please direct your applications to dynamint@rewi.hu-berlin.de.

Swamdi Ramdev v Facebook, Google, Youtube et al at the Delhi High Court: Worldwide removal ordered without much hesitation.

GAVC - mar, 11/05/2019 - 01:01

‘The race between technology and the law could be termed as a hare and tortoise race – As technology gallops, the law tries to keep pace.’ (see further below).

Thank you Daphne Keller for flagging CS (OS) 27/2019 Swami Ramdev et al v Facebook et al at the Delhi High Court on 23 October. Defendants are Facebook Inc, Google Inc, YouTube LLC, Twitter etc. The allegation of Plaintiffs is that various defamatory remarks and information including videos, found earlier to have been defamatory (a judgment currently before the Supreme Court without having been stayed), are being disseminated over the Defendants’ platforms.

At 6 Prathiba M Singh J summarises the parties’ position: None of the Defendants have any objection to blocking the URLs and disabling the same, insofar as access in India is concerned. However, all the Defendant platforms have raised objections to removal/blocking/disabling the impugned content on a global basis. On the other hand, the Plaintiffs argued that blocking merely for the Indian territory alone is not sufficient as the content would be accessible through international websites, which can be accessed in India. Thus, according to the Plaintiffs, for the remedy to be effective, a global blocking order ought to be passed.

Particularly in the review of plaintiff’s submission at 8 ff, the parallel is clear with the discussions on the role of intermediaries in Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek v Facebook. Reference of course is also made to Equustek and, at 64, to the CJEU in Google v CNIL. Facebook refers to the material difference between defamation laws across the globe: at 10: ‘Defamation laws differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and therefore, passing of a global disabling order would be contrary to the principle of comity of Courts and would result in conflict of laws.’

At 44 ff Prathiba M Singh J extensively reviews global precedent, and, at 69, to Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek v Facebook. At 88 ff this leads justice Singh

  • to uphold fairly straightforwardly the court’s power to order global delisting given the origin in India of the original act of uploading: ‘The act of uploading vests jurisdiction in the Courts where the uploading takes place. If any information or data has been uploaded from India on to a computer resource which has resulted in residing of the data on the network and global dissemination of the said information or data, then the platforms are liable to remove or disable access to the said information and data from that very computer resource. The removal or disabling cannot be restricted to a part of that resource, serving a geographical location.’
  • and at 99, to make an effectiveness argument: ‘it is clear that any order passed by the Court has to be effective. The parties before this Court i.e. the platforms are sufficiently capable to enforce an order of global blocking. Further, it is not disputed that the platforms are subject to in personam jurisdiction of this Court.’
  • finally, at 91: ‘The race between technology and the law could be termed as a hare
    and tortoise race – As technology gallops, the law tries to keep pace’. This does not imply the law simply laying down to have its belly rubbed. Exactly my sentiment in my post on the UK AI case.

Geert.

(Handbook of) EU Private International Law, 2nd ed. 2016, Chapter 2, Heading 2.2.8.2, Heading 2.2.8.2.5

 

 

 

Call for Papers – ‘Digitalization and Mobility: How Technology Affects Flows of People, Services and Goods’, University of Milan, 19-21 March 2020

Conflictoflaws - lun, 11/04/2019 - 13:20

The University of Milan will host the third edition of its Doctoral Seminar in Public, International and European Law from 19 to 21 March 2020.

The Seminar tackles ‘Digitalization and Mobility: How Technology Affects Flows of People, Services and Goods’ and it will be structured in four panels, focusing on the following subjects:

  1. Digitalization and international law: How the use of digital technologies impact international relations, international trade and cross-border transactions.
  2. Tax and digitalisation: The reconfiguration of value chain and the impact on direct and indirect taxation.
  3. Digitalization and people’s mobility: Protecting fundamental rights.
  4. Urban mobility and public services: How new technologies can impact urban mobility and the provision of public services.

The call for papers is open to PhD students or to those who have completed their PhD in the three years prior to the deadline for submission. To participate, candidates must submit their CV and an abstract of their paper in English (max 800 words) by 15 December 2019 via email to: rosalba.dambrosio@unimi.it. The abstract must be in .docx format and indicate the author’s name, the title of the paper, and the panel to which it would belong amongst the four mentioned above. The CV must be sent in PDF format.

The deadline for the submission of the final papers is the end of February 2020.

Only original and unpublished papers may be submitted. All the selected papers will be published either in a scientific Law Review or in a book collecting the Seminar’s proceedings.

More information is available at: Call4Papers_3rdPhd_Seminar_UNIMI

Gender and Private International Law (GaP) Transdisciplinary Research Project: Report on the kick-off event, October 25th at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

Conflictoflaws - lun, 11/04/2019 - 12:53

As announced earlier on this blog, the Gender and Private International Law (GaP) kick-off event took place on October 25th at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg.

This event, organized by Ivana Isailovic and Ralf Michaels, was a stimulating occasion for scholars from both Gender studies and Private and Public international law to meet and share approaches and views.

During a first session, Ivana Isailovic presented the field of Gender studies and its various theories such as liberal feminism and radical feminism. Each of these theories challenges the structures and representations of men and women in law, and helps us view differently norms and decisions. For example, whereas liberal feminism has always pushed for the law to reform itself in order to achieve formal equality, and therefore focused on rights allocation and on the concepts of equality and autonomy, radical feminism insists on the idea of a legal system deeply shaped by men-dominated power structures, making it impossible for women to gain autonomy by using those legal tools.

Ivana Isailovic insisted on the fact that, as a field, Gender studies has expanded in different directions. As a result, it is extremely diverse and self-critical. Recent transnational feminism studies establish links between gender, colonialism and global capitalism. They are critical toward earliest feminist theories and their hegemonic feminist solidarity perception based on Western liberal paradigms.

After presenting those theories, Ivana Isailovic asked the participants to think about the way gender appears in their field and in their legal work, and challenged them to imagine how using this new Gender studies approach could impact their field of research, and maybe lead to different solutions, or different rules. That was quite challenging, especially for private lawyers who became aware, perhaps for the first time, of the influence of gender on their field.

After this first immersion in the world of gender studies, Roxana Banu offered a brief outline of private international law’s methodology, in order to raise several questions regarding the promises and limits of an interdisciplinary conversation between Private International Law (PIL) and gender studies. Can PIL’s techniques serve as entry points for bringing various insights of gender studies into the analysis of transnational legal matters? Alternatively, could the insights of gender studies fundamentally reform private international law’s methodology?

After a short break, a brainstorming session on what PIL and Gender studies could bring to each other took place. Taking surrogacy as an example, participants were asked to view through a gender studies lens the issues raised by transnational surrogacy. This showed that the current conversation leaves aside some aspects which, conversely, a Gender studies approach puts at the fore, notably the autonomy of the surrogate mother and the fact that, under certain conditions, surrogacy could be a rational economic choice.

This first set of questions then prompted a broader philosophical debate about the contours of an interdisciplinary conversation between PIL and Gender studies. Aren’t PIL scholars looking at PIL’s methodology in its best light while ignoring the gap between its representation and its practice? Would this in turn enable or obfuscate the full potential of gender studies perspectives to critique and reform private international law?

As noted by the organizers, “although private international law has always dealt with question related to gender justice, findings from gender studies have thus far received little attention within PIL”. The participants realized that is was also true the other way around: although they were studying international issues, scholars working on gender did not really payed much attention to PIL either.

One could ask why PIL has neglected gender studies for so long. The avowedly a-political self-perception of the discipline on the one hand, and the focus on public policy and human rights on the other, could explain why gender issues were not examined through a Gender studies lens. However, Gender studies could be a useful reading grid to help PIL become aware of the cultural understanding of gender in a global context. It could also help to understand how PIL’s techniques have historically responded to gender issues and explore ways to improve them. Issues like repudiation recognition, polygamous marriage or child abductions could benefit from this lens.

It was announced that a series of events will be organized: reading groups, a full day workshop and a conference planned for the Spring of 2020.

If you want to know more about the project, please contact gender@mpipriv.de.

 

 

Some Brexit news (part III): The UK ratification of the HCCH Child Support Convention and the UK accession to the HCCH Choice of Court Convention remain suspended until 1 February 2020

Conflictoflaws - dim, 11/03/2019 - 12:57

This week the Depositary of the HCCH Conventions informed all Contracting Parties that the UK ratification of the HCCH Child Support Convention and the UK accession to the HCCH Choice of Court Convention, including the UK extension to Gibraltar under both Conventions, remain suspended until 1 February 2020.

The above is pursuant to the declaration made by the United Kingdom on 30 October 2019, which informed the Depositary that “the European Council has agreed a further extension of the period for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on the European Union (the “Extension Period”) which would last until 31 January 2020, or any of the earlier specified dates on which the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force.”

This of course comes as no surprise to many of us. Nevertheless, it is important to bear in mind the new date specified by the Depositary, which seems to cope with a no-deal Brexit scenario and can have important practical consequences (e.g. applicable declarations, temporal scope of application). Importantly, and as indicated in the relevant notifications, in the event that a Withdrawal Agreement is signed, ratified and approved by the United Kingdom and the European Union and enters into force prior to or on 1 February 2020, the United Kingdom will withdraw the Instrument of Ratification and the Instrument of Accession (including the extension to Gibraltar) to the above-mentioned Conventions.

Our previous posts on this matter are available here (part I) and here (part II).

The notifications of the Depositary are available here (Child Support Convention) and here (Choice of Court Convention).

The European Union, as a Regional Economic Integration Organisation, approved both the Child Support Convention and the Choice of Court Convention on 9 April 2014 and 11 June 2015, respectively.

Recruiting a Postdoc researcher on ADR ERC project EU Civil Justice in Rotterdam

Conflictoflaws - sam, 11/02/2019 - 03:48

Erasmus School of Law has a vacancy for a postdoc position for a subproject on ADR within the ERC Consolidator project: ‘Building EU civil justice: challenges of procedural innovations bridging access to justice’ (EU-JUSTICE)

For this project, we are looking for a talented and energetic postdoctoral researcher with a strong interests in multidisciplinary research and the overall objectives of the project. The ideal candidate should be a dynamic and independent thinker with a team spirit, and should enjoy working in an international environment. The project is financed by the European Research Council under its ERC Consolidator scheme (funding ID 726032). The project is led by Prof. dr. Xandra Kramer. The project kicked off in September 2017 with a group of six researchers and a research assistant with diverse backgrounds who have very successfully collaborated in conducting and presenting research from a multidisciplinary perspective, organising international events, and reaching out to key stakeholders at national and European levels to create impact. The researcher will conduct research in the area of ADR, and will collaborate with the other project members, in particular with the PhD researcher working on ODR. While the research takes place in the context of the project description, the researcher remains free to develop his or her own strands of research within the broad area of ADR.

Check out our website is: www.euciviljustice.eu.

More information is available here.

Requirements

  • hold a PhD, or obtain this before or shortly after appointment, in dispute resolution, or (European) civil procedure;
  • good knowledge of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms;
  • relevant international publications;
  • experience with comparative law research;
  • preferably experience with or qualifications in empirical legal research;
  • human and managerial skills as well as a relevant professional network;
  • excellent writing and oral skills in English;
  • working proficiency in at least one or two other languages relevant for the project will be an asset.

Application and conditions of employment

Apply before 18 November 2019, in accordance with the requirements set out at Academic Transfer, where you will also find additional information on the terms of employment. The starting date is 1 January 2020 or any earlier if possible. The employment is for a fixed term of twenty months (1 September 2021), but may be extended for a fixed period if additional funding is obtained.

For more information contact Xandra Kramer, kramer@law.eur.nl

 

New Book: Recognition of Judgments in Contravention of Prorogation Agreements

Conflictoflaws - ven, 11/01/2019 - 17:06

Written by Felix M. Wilke, Senior Lecturer at the University of Bayreuth, Germany.

Must a foreign judgment be recognised in which a jurisdiction agreement has been applied incorrectly, i.e. in which a court wrongly assumed to be competent or wrongly declined jurisdiction? Within the European Union, the basic answer is a rather straightforward “yes”. Recognition can only be refused on the grounds set forth in Article 45(1) Brussels Ibis Regulation, and unlike Article 7(1)(d) of the recently adopted HCCH Judgments Convention, none of them covers this scenario. What is more, Article 45(3) Brussels Ibis expressly states that the jurisdiction of the court of origin, save for certain instances of protected parties, may not be reviewed, not even under the guise of public policy.

Why, then, should one bother to read the book by Niklas Brüggemann, Die Anerkennung prorogationswidriger Urteile im Europäischen und US-amerikanischen Zivilprozessrecht (Mohr Siebeck) on the recognition of judgments in contravention of prorogation clauses in European and US-American law? The first and rather obvious reason can be found in the second part of the title. The book contains a concise, yet nuanced overview of the law of jurisdiction agreements in the US (in German). To the knowledge of this author, it has been 12 years since the last comparable work was published (Florian Eichel, AGB-Gerichtsstandsklauseln im deutsch-amerikanischen Handelsverkehr (Jenaer Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft) – which dealt with recognition only in passing and was limited to German and US law). Thus, this new book can be recommended to anyone with sufficient command of the German language who is interested in this particular aspect of US civil procedure, whose concepts – if one even dares to use that term – partly differs from European ideas.

The second and main reason to concern oneself with Brüggemann’s book, however, is his proposition for a new ground of refusal of recognition: a new Article 45(1)(e)(iii) Brussels Ibis for which he even offers a draft. To this end, the author comprehensively analyses jurisdiction agreements within the Brussels Ibis framework. While Article 31(2) Brussels Ibis, one of the main innovations of the Recast, has indeed “enhance[d] the effectiveness of exclusive choice-of-court agreements” (Recital 22 Brussel Ibis), Brüggemann argues that the Regulation still safeguards jurisdiction agreements insufficiently. He points out several situations (e.g. asymmetrical agreements, mere derogation agreements) that Article 31(2) Brussels Ibis does not cover in the first place. He also argues in some detail that the court first seised is allowed to examine the jurisdiction agreement in question with regard to the existence of an agreement and its formal validity; its assessment would be binding upon other courts in line with Gothaer Allgemeine (ECJ Case C-456/11). This in turn would lead to a race to the courts and even to a race between the courts. (The latter metaphor is only partially convincing, for it is unlikely that the judges will intentionally accelerate their respective proceedings in order to “beat” the other court.)

Brüggemann goes on to argue that when it comes to jurisdiction agreements it is contradictory to make an exception to the principle of mutual trust in the lis pendens context but to strictly adhere to it in the recognition context. He demonstrates that, in particular, default judgments by a derogated court pose a significant risk for the defendant – one with which US civil procedure arguably deals more effectively. Alas, this appears to be the only instance in which the author’s comparative analysis, as interesting it is in and of itself, contributes to his broader point. He concludes by pointing out parallels to jurisdiction in insurance/consumer/employment matters (safeguarded at the stage of recognition by Article 45(1)(e)(i) Brussels Ibis) and exclusive jurisdiction (safeguarded at the stage of recognition by Article 45(1)(e)(ii) Brussels Ibis), and by suggesting that a special ground for refusal of recognition would have positive effects on the internal market.

While the abovementioned Judgments Convention is too recent to feature in the book, the author was able to consider its draft in a separate, albeit somewhat oddly positioned, chapter. Conspicuously absent is any specific discussion of the issue of damages for the violation of a choice of court agreement (see this recent post). The omission is certainly justifiable as Brüggemann is only concerned with procedural safeguards for jurisdiction agreements. But maybe such a remedy under substantive law could obviate or at least lessen the need for a separate ground of refusal of recognition? All in all, however, the author has carefully built a compelling case for an addition to Article 45(1) Brussels Ibis.

DynamInt: 7 doctoral positions at Humboldt-University Berlin

Conflictoflaws - ven, 11/01/2019 - 09:10

The Faculty of Law of Humboldt-University Berlin invites applications for 7 doctoral positions as Research fellow with 3/4-part-time-employment – E 13 TV-L HU1 (third party funding, short-term until 30 November 2021, prolongation is possible; engagement intended until 1 December 2019)

Job description:

  • Research activities in the doctoral programme “Dynamic Integration – Law in-between Harmonisation and Plurality in Europe (DynamInt)” funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, GRK 2483);
  • Activities for your own scientific qualification (PhD within the thematic areas of the doctoral programme).

You can find more information about the post graduate program DynamInt online: https://www.rewi.hu-berlin.de/de/lf/oe/rhp/index.htm

Requirements

  • First German State Examination in Law or Master Degree in Law (preferably with distinction or better);
  • Sufficient command of German and at least one further European common language.

Application period until

1st November 2019 (not fixed, extension possible)

Application details

Applications must include a research proposal for the PhD discussing the state of research, framing a scientific question as well as a research plan.

Applications must indicate the identification number of this Call for application (DR/158/19) and should be sent to Humboldt University of Berlin, Faculty of Law, Professor Dr. Matthias Ruffert, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin or to the following e-mail address: DynamInt@rewi.hu-berlin.de (one PDF, max. 10 MB).

NB

The working language of the programme (courses, workshops etc.) is German. The PhD thesis may be written in English.

English text for information with additional explanations – only the German text is authoritative.

Cross-Border Enforcement in the EU (“IC2BE”) – programme workshop Netherlands 14 November

Conflictoflaws - ven, 11/01/2019 - 05:36

Workshop: Application of the “Second Generation” Regulations in The Netherlands

The Erasmus School of Law (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands) will host a second national workshop on Thursday, 14 November 2019 from 9.30-13.00 hrs, in the framework of the research project “Informed Choices in Cross-Border Enforcement” (IC2BE) (see our first workshop). This project (JUSTAG-2016-02) is funded by the Justice Programme (2014-2020) of the European Commission and aims to assess the functioning in practice of the “second generation” of EU regulations on procedural law for cross-border cases, i.e. the European Enforcement Order (“EEO”), European Order for Payment (“EPO”), European Small Claims (as amended by Regulation (EU) 2015/2421) (“ESCP”) and the European Account Preservation Order (“EAPO”) Regulations.

The project is carried out by a European consortium involving the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg and the universities of Antwerp, Complutense of Madrid, Milan, Rotterdam, and Wroclaw, and is coordinated by Prof. Jan von Hein from the University of Freiburg.

The workshop will present the findings of the research in the Netherlands and discuss these with experts from legal practice and academics, with the aim of assessing and improving the application of these instruments.

The language of the workshop is mostly Dutch. Practitioners and academics interested in cross-border litigation are invited to participate in this event. The program can be found here. Contact address for registration and further information: ontanu@law.eur.nl.

The final conference for this IC2BE project will take place in Antwerp on 21-22 November 2019. For more information and registration see our previous post and the project website.

 

Rivista di diritto internazionale privato e processuale (RDIPP) No 3/2019: Abstracts

Conflictoflaws - jeu, 10/31/2019 - 12:23

The third issue of 2019 of the Rivista di diritto internazionale privato e processuale (RDIPP, published by CEDAM) was just released and it features:

Stefania Bariatti, Professor at the University of Milan, Volontà delle parti e internazionalità del rapporto giuridico: alcuni sviluppi recenti nella giurisprudenza della Corte di giustizia sui regolamenti europei in materia di diritto internazionale privato (Party Autonomy and Characterization of a Legal Relationship as International: Some Recent Developments in the Jurisprudence of the Court of Justice on the EU Regulations in Private International Law; in Italian)

Two recent cases brought before the Court of Justice of the EU lead to meditate about the admissibility of choice of court clauses in favour of a foreign court and choice of law clauses in favour of a foreign law inserted in purely domestic contracts. In the Vinyls case, the Court of Justice has stated that the choice of a foreign law, that is valid according to the Rome I Regulation, is valid also for purposes of Article 16 of Regulation No 2015/848 (European Insolvency Regulation Recast), provided that such choice is not fraudulent or abusive. This solution, that is in line with the previous case-law of the Court, requires that the parties to a domestic contract carefully check the reasons for choosing a foreign law and it excludes that national provisions of law concerning the voidness or voidability of detrimental acts in case of insolvency qualify as mandatory rules under Article 3(3) of the Rome I Regulation. The second case, that will not be decided by the Court since it was repealed by the national judge, concerns the choice of a foreign forum in a domestic contract subject to the ISDA rules, that are widely used in international business transactions. Some recent judgments of the Court suggest that such choice is apt to qualify a domestic contract as ‘international’ for purposes of applying the Brussels I recast Regulation and is valid according to its Article 25.

In addition to the foregoing, the following comment is featured:

Martina Mantovani, PhD Candidate at the University of Paris II Pantheon-Assas and Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law, Horizontal Conflicts of Member States’ GDPR-Complementing Laws: The Quest for a Viable Conflict-of-Laws Solution (in English)

This paper offers a comparative overview of the national provisions defining the reach of the laws adopted by Member States on the basis of the opening clauses enshrined in the GDPR. It identifies the lack of coordination among the Member States’ complementing laws as a major hindrance to the proper functioning of the internal digital market, due to the paramount problems of over – and under – regulation, and increased potential for forum and law shopping stemming from the existing legislative framework. Against this backdrop, this paper submits that existing national rules of applicability may be deemed contrary to EU law, and should be interpreted, to the extent possible, “in conformity” with the wording and the purpose of the GDPR. In this vein the scheme and objectives of the GDPR, should be directly applied.

Issue International Business Courts – Erasmus Law Review

Conflictoflaws - jeu, 10/31/2019 - 00:19

The latest issue of Erasmus Law Review, edited by Xandra Kramer and John Sorabji is dedicated to International Business Courts. It contains eleven papers focusing on a specific jurisdiction or on horizontal issues, including international jurisdiction and lawyers’ preferences in international litigation. The Introductory paper by the editors frames the discussion on international business courts and provides explanations for the rise ofthese courts in Europe and beyond, addresses aspects of
justice innovation and international competition, as well as the effect these new courts may have on
globalising commercial court litigation.

This issue of Erasmus Law Review results from the seminar ‘Innovating International Business
Courts: a European Outlook’ hosted by the Erasmus School of Law in Rotterdam, held on 10 July 2018, and coorganised by the Max Planck Institute for Procedural Law in Luxembourg and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice of Utrecht University. It includes the speaker contributions to that seminar and additional articles resulting from a call for papers on this blog.  The complete issue can be downloaded here. The table of contents is at the bottom of this post.

Similtaneously a book expanding on the topic and including a views from twelve jurisdictions has just been published: International Business Courts: A European and Global Perspective  (eds. Xandra Kramer & John Sorabji), Eleven International Publishing 2019. (order form) This electronic version of this book will become available open access soon.

These publications result from and are financed by the ERC Consolidator project Building EU Civil Justice at the Erasmus School of Law in Rotterdam.

 

Table of contents Erasmus Law Review 2019(1) – International Business Courts

(1) International Business Courts in Europe and Beyond: A Global Competition for Justice?
Xandra Kramer & John Sorabji

(2) A View from the Business and Property Courts in London
Sir Geoffrey Vos

(3) Commercial Litigation in Europe in Transformation: The Case of the Netherlands Commercial Court
Eddy Bauw
(4) International Commercial Courts in France: Innovation without Revolution?
Alexandre Biard
(5) Chambers for International Commercial Disputes in Germany: The State of Affairs
Burkhard Hess & Timon Boerner
(6) The Brussels International Business Court: Initial Overview and Analysis
Erik Peetermans & Philippe Lambrecht
(7) Requirements upon Agreements in Favour of the NCC and the German Chambers – Clashing with the Brussels Ibis Regulation?
Georgia Antonopoulou
(8) Matchmaking International Commercial Courts and Lawyers’ Preferences in Europe
Erlis Themeli
(9) The Singapore International Commercial Court: The Future of Litigation?
Man Yip
(10) Joinder of Non-Consenting Parties: The Singapore International Commercial Court Approach Meets Transnational Recognition and Enforcement
Drossos Stamboulakis & Blake Crook
(11) The Emergence of International Commercial Courts in India: A Narrative for Ease of Doing Business?
Sai Ramani Garimella & M.Z. Ashraful
(12) The Court of the Astana International Financial Center in the Wake of Its Predecessors
Nicolas Zambrana-Tevar

 

Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts (IPRax) 6/2019: Abstracts

Conflictoflaws - mer, 10/30/2019 - 17:53

The latest issue of the „Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts (IPRax)“ features the following articles:

D. Einsele: The Law Applicable to Third-Party Effects of Assignments of Claims – A Critical Interjection Regarding the Commission’s Proposal

Claims are relative rights against the debtor. Therefore, third parties are not legally affected by the assignment of a claim. However, legal systems may protect third parties’ (economic) interest in knowing who the creditor of a claim is. Insofar, essentially two different means of making the assignment public have to be distinguished, i.e. “relative” publicity, in particular by notice of the assignment to the debtor, and “absolute” publicity, in particular by registration of the assignment in a public register. Whereas means of relative publicity usually can be qualified as rules covered by Art. 14(1) and 18(1) Rome I Regulation, means of absolute publicity are generally overriding mandatory provisions. Instead of qualifying different publicity provisions, Art. 4 of the Proposal establishes one single rule for all third-party effects of assignments. Yet it distinguishes, in a conceptually erratic manner, different cases of assignments of claims and allows for party autonomy relating to third-party effects, thereby infringing basic legal principles. The Proposal will also not bring about legal certainty regarding the third-party effectiveness of assignments. This is due to the “super” conflict rules of Art. 4(1) subs. 2, Art. 4(4) of the Proposal and the lack of (explicit) rules concerning chains of assignments. Requirements for absolute publicity – qualified as overriding mandatory provisions – would in any event not be caught by Art. 4 of the Proposal.

C. Thole: The distinction between EIR and Brussels Ia-reg. with respect to damage claims against third parties based on damages incurred by the general body of creditors

The recent judgment of the ECJ shows, once again, the difficulties in distinguishing between civil matters (falling within the scope of the Brussels Ia Regulation) and actions within the meaning of Art. 6 EIR which derive directly from the insolvency proceedings and are closely linked to them. The Court had to deal with a special action established under Dutch law that allows the insolvency practitioner to pursue a damage claim against third parties on the grounds of them allegedly being party to a misappropriation of assets committed by the debtor. The ECJ concluded that such a claim falls within the scope of the Brussels Ia Regulation, notwithstanding the fact that the action is brought by the liquidator in insolvency proceedings and the proceeds of the action, if the claim succeeds, accrue to the general body of creditors. Christoph Thole analyses the judgment and its consequences for other damage claims based on German law. He also argues that the ECJ is trying to more and more confine the criteria relevant under Art. 6 EIR to a sole criterion, i.e. the legal basis of the action. This shows some similarities with the approach followed by the ECJ with respect to the general distinction between civil and administrative matters under art. 1 Brussels Ia Regulation.

C.A. Kern/C. Uhlmann: International jurisdiction and actio pauliana (avoidance action) in the absence of insolvency proceedings

The ECJ ruled that international jurisdiction for the avoidance action of a Polish creditor against a Spanish third party which had received assets from the Polish co-contractor of the creditor can be based on Art. 7 No. 1 lit. a Brussels I bis Regulation. For the ECJ, international jurisdiction for an avoidance action against the “enriched” third party can be derived from the original contractual relationship between creditor and debtor. The authors criticize the decision of the ECJ and instead argue in favor of the general place of jurisdiction (Art. 4 para. 1 Brussels I bis Regulation).

K. Sirakova/P. Westhoven: Do broadly worded jurisdiction clauses cover actions based on the abuse of a dominant position?

The interpretation of jurisdiction agreements in the private enforcement of EU competition law continues to raise various questions in Member State courts even after the ECJ’s decision in CDC Hydrogen Peroxide. The latest ruling of the Luxembourg court in this context was the case Apple Sales International. The judgment clarifies some of the questions that remained open in the aftermath of the CDC-ruling and provides guidance on the interpretation of jurisdiction agreements by proposing a general differentiation between claims resulting from an infringement of Art. 101 TFEU and such based on Art. 102 TFEU. While the judgment will undoubtedly facilitate a swift decision of jurisdiction issues in many private enforcement cases, the approach of the ECJ should not be understood as entirely excluding the discretion of the national courts in interpretation matters. It remains the sole responsibility of the Member State judges to take into account the individual circumstances of each case.

C. Mayer: Pitfalls of public service and of choice of court agreements in international business transactions

In order to guarantee the applicant effective legal protection, the possibility of public service is indispensable, particularly in cross-border legal relations with non- EU Member States. However, in order to protect the defendant’s right to be heard, public service is permissible only under strict conditions, otherwise service is ineffective. A hasty recourse to this procedural means can therefore have considerable procedural, but also material legal consequences for an applicant entitled to claim, because ineffective service does not start the course of appeal periods nor the limitation period. The decision of the higher regional court of Hamburg discussed below shows that even small mistakes in allegedly simple procedural steps can be fatal to the plaintiff.

M. Brinkmann: Counterclaims under the Brussels I Regulation

In Petronas Lubricants Italy SpA ./. Livio Guida, the ECJ had the opportunity to refine the Court’s understanding of the relationship between claim and counter-claim required by Art. 8 Nr. 3 Brussels Ia Regulation. As in Northartov(C-306/17), a decision which had been published shortly before, the ECJ relied on the wording established in the Kostanjevec-case by asking whether the original claim and the counter-claim share a “common origin”. Such a common origin exists, according to the ECJ, even if the original claim is based on a contractual relationship and the counter-claim is based on a different contractual relationship as long as they arise from the “same facts”. If this requirement is met, the fact that the claim of the counter-claimant has previously been assigned to him by a third party, is irrelevant. The reasoning of the Court gives cause to revisit the basics of the jurisdiction for counter-claims in European Civil Procedure and to reflect on the admissibility of counter-claims against third parties under the Brussel Ia Regulation.

B. Heiderhoff: The „tricky” subjective element of habitual residence

The concept of habitual residence still poses problems for German courts. While the CJEU strongly favours a fact-based approach, national courts show a tendency to give greater weight to so-called subjective elements, i.e. factors such as attachment to the home state or the vague intention to move „back home“. Based on the analysis of several court decisions, including the CJEU’s UD ./. XB judgment, the article aims at clarifying the rather limited role of subjective criteria within the concept of habitual residence.

D. Looschelders: Waiving an inheritance before German courts in cases of international successions

Accepting or waiving an inheritance may pose considerable practical difficulties to heirs with habitual residence in a Member State different from the one in which the succession according to the European Succession Regulation is settled. In order to facilitate the acceptance or waiver of the succession, Article 13 of the European Succession Regulation assigns special jurisdiction to the court at the habitual residence of the person making the declaration. However, the interpretation of this provision raises some unresolved issues. The present decisions of the Higher Regional Courts of D sseldorf and Koblenz are the first statements by higher German courts in relation to this matter. Specifically, they deal with local jurisdiction, the effects of a waiver before a court at the habitual residence of the person making the declaration on the inheritance procedure of the competent court at the last habitual residence of the deceased and the necessity of court approval for waivers of minors. The article presents by means of these judgments that waivers of succession before German courts in cases of international successions lead to significant imponderability. Yet the author opines that the person making the declaration can counteract most of the uncertainties by following a careful approach.

C. Möllnitz: Violation of the national public policy by the registration of a noble name changed by deed poll and its effects on European fundamental rights

The current decision of the German Federal Court restricts the European right of freedom of movement by proscribing the registration of a name in Germany containing a former title of nobility due to a violation of the national public policy, even if the name is lawfully registered in another member state of the European Union. While the arguments on a violation of the national public policy are convincing, the justification of the restriction of the freedom of movement is questionable in the light of the European jurisprudence. The fact that former titles of nobility, as part of a name, are not completely banned in Germany raises doubts as to the necessity of this restriction.

B. Lurger: The Hypothetical Violation of EU Fundamental Freedoms Leads to a New Rule: Non-Possessory (German) Security Ownership Finally Survives the Transport to Austria

In its judgment of 23 January 2019 (3 Ob 249/18s), the Austrian Supreme Court (OGH) changed its line of decisions concerning the validity of nonpossessory security rights in movables which are brought to Austria. Before 2019, the Supreme Court (3 Ob 126/83) held that the (German) non-possessory security ownership („Sicherungseigentum“) of a German creditor in a movable became extinct the moment the movable (transported by the debtor) crossed the border from Germany to Austria. This was due to the Austrian “principle of possession of security objects”: Under Austrian law, pledges and security ownership are only valid when the security object rests in the “fists” of the creditor (= “Faustpfandprinzip” = “principle of fist pledge”). This principle was determined to apply as soon as the security object – in the hands of the debtor – entered Austrian territory. According to the judgment of 23 January 2019 the opposite is now correct: The non-possessory (German) security ownership now survives the transgression of the Austrian frontier. The Austrian “fist principle” does not apply. The validity of the foreign security right is solely based on the foreign (German) rules for security rights which applied due to the lex rei sitae when the security right was created (§ 31 Austrian IPRG) and which continue to apply. The main argument of the court for this about turn is the Austrian accession to the EU in 1995 which led to application of the fundamental freedoms of the TFEU. The (former pre-EU) application of the Austrian fist principle to imported security objects constituted (from 1995 onwards) an unjustified violation of the EU fundamental freedoms in most cases, according to the court. This argumentation is plausible and in line with major literature. The 2019 judgment establishes the recognition of non-possessory security rights in movables in Austria once these rights where validly created under the law of another EU Member State. This leads to less transparency and security on the credit security market in Austria with respect to movables. The question of whether the new PIL rule also applies to relations with Non-Member States can be answered in the affirmative.

M. Makowsky: The limitation of succession proceedings in cases of assets located in a third State pursuant to Art. 12 EU Succession Regulation

In principle, the EU Succession Regulation grants the courts of the member states jurisdiction to rule on the succession as a whole regardless of the location of the estate. If assets are located in a non-EU state, however, Art. 12 of the Regulation allows the court, at the request of the parties, to decide not to rule on these assets if it may be expected that its decision will not be recognised or declared enforceable in that third state. The Austrian Supreme Court has approved the limitation of succession proceedings in a case where part of the estate was located in Switzerland and the Swiss authorities had already issued a certificate of inheritance and appointed an executor. The Court argues that, due to these prior acts, a later decision by the Austrian probate court in respect of the Swiss estate could not be recognised in Switzerland. The article points out that firstly, it has to be determined whether the acts in the Swiss succession proceedings need to be recognised and therefore have a (res judicata) effect on the proceedings held in Austria. If the Swiss authorities’ acts, especially the certificate of inheritance, do not qualify as „decisions“ capable of recognition, they can hardly constitute a ground for non-recognition.

F. Fuchs: Cross-border effects of third-party notices and actions on a warranty with a special regard to the Portuguese Code of Civil Procedure

Under the Brussels Ia Regulation, a person domiciled abroad may be invited to join proceedings before the courts of a Member State pursuant to that Member State’s rules on third-party notice. The third-party notice enables the claimant, if he loses the case, to have a recourse against the third party with that third party being bound by the outcome of the first proceedings. Instead of rules on third-party notice, some Member States allow actions on a warranty. Both concepts aim to protect the interest of that party whose claim would be dismissed twice if the proceedings against two or more adversaries could not be combined. The situation in Portugal is quite interesting, given that its national law provides for both, third-party notices and actions on a warranty. This article offers an insight into the Portuguese Code of Civil Procedure. Moreover, it examines how the effects of a German third-party notice are recognized in other Members States and how a judgment on a warranty rendered in Portugal is recognized in Germany.

Out now: RabelsZ 4/2019

Conflictoflaws - mer, 10/30/2019 - 07:00

The latest issue of RabelsZ has just been published. It contains the following articles:

Olaf Meyer, Parteiautonomie bei Mehrrechtsstaaten (Party Autonomy in States with More than One Legal System), pp. 721 et seq

Where parties’ choice of law in private international law is limited to states with which they have reasonably close ties, similar restrictions usually apply to their choice of local law in states having more than one legal system. However, applying the same limits to both contexts is not mandatory. On the international level there is already a connecting factor that has designated the applicability of the law of a multi-law state. At the local level it is then a question of fine-tuning within that state’s legal order. To undertake this fine-tuning exercise on the basis of purely objective criteria is, however, more difficult within a single non-unified legal system than it is between two different states. This is because the relevant facts are packed more densely together and people are more mobile within the same state. Hence, the habitual residence of a person or the closest connection to the facts of a case tends to be more difficult to localise than in cases with connections to different states. Here lies an essential difference between international and inter-local conflicts of laws, which would justify a different approach to resolving them.

Zufall, Frederike, Shifting Role of the “Place”: From locus delicti to Online Ubiquity in EU, Japanese and U.S. Conflict of Tort Laws, pp. 760 et seq

This article examines the evolution of conflict rules in their perception of “place”: the basis for determining jurisdiction and the applicable law. To examine this topic from a global perspective, the legal systems of the EU, Japan, and the U.S. are analyzed and contrasted as representative legal systems from around the world (I.). Europe can be seen as the cradle of the concept of locus delicti, upholding it, albeit with reinterpretation, until today. Like other Asian countries, Japan received locus delicti as a legal transplant, implementing and adapting it in its own way. Finally, the U.S. is known for pursuing a different approach and different connecting places as a result of its conflicts revolution. This study, then, aims to combine a comparative approach with conceptual analysis, tracing the evolution of locus delicti as first received from Roman law (II.), through its reinterpretation to address cross-border and multi-state torts (III.), and the adoption of different connecting approaches (IV.), to questions arising from the ubiquity raised by the Internet (V.). To ensure a comprehensive approach, this paper will cover aspects of both the applicable law and jurisdiction, while at the same time having cognizance of their conceptual differences. It will be shown that in seeking “connecting factors”, “contacts”, or “interests”, connection to a place is increasingly lost, blurring territoriality and provoking the question of whether pursuing a fair balance between the parties should, instead, lead our legal reasoning (VI.).

Oliver Mörsdorf, Private enforcement im sekundären Unionsprivatrecht: (k)eine klare Sache? (Private Enforcement under Secondary EU Private Law: (Not) a Clear Matter?), pp. 797 et seq

National private law is increasingly determined by EU legislation which either directly establishes standards of conduct between individuals or obliges Member States to do so. However, such legislation often lacks clarity as to whether private law remedies are granted in cases of non-compliance. In Van Gend & Loos the EJC held that the EEC (now EU) creates individual rights that are directly enforceable before national courts. The Court later developed this principle of direct effect into a far-reaching duty for Member States to ensure the enforcement of individual rights by providing remedies such as a right to invoke the nullity of legal provisions or contract clauses and a right to claim damages from public authorities and private persons. Most legal writers take a functional approach to the question of which EU laws contain individual rights, arguing that the involvement of individuals in enforcement of EU law calls for over-all recognition of individual rights. This private enforcement approach might fit primary law but cannot be transferred to secondary law, where the ECJ’s recognition of individual rights goes along with a reduction of EU lawmakers’ prerogative to decide on the enforcement standard. The question of whether a secondary law provision contains an individual right thus must be answered strictly by interpreting that provision, taking into account not only its wording and context but also the legislative process preceding its adoption. A prerogative to decide autonomously on the creation of individual rights should be rejected, however, regarding EU provisions that give specific expression to individual rights deriving from primary law. Even if one accepts EU lawmakers’ power to define the scope of primary law to some extent, this power cannot include the very character of provisions as individual rights.

Leon Theimer, The End of Consumer Protection in the U.S.? –Mandatory Arbitration and Class Action Waivers, pp. 841 et seq

Historically, in the early twentieth century, mandatory arbitration was almost non-existent due to the judiciary’s widespread refusal to enforce arbitration agreements. This began to change slowly when Congress passed the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) in order to provide a forum for merchants to settle fact-based contractual disputes. […] The sweeping change towards individual arbitration in consumer disputes is underpinned by the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence, which over the last forty years has overwhelmingly favoured the party seeking to arbitrate.  While it is beyond the scope of this article to analyse the entirety of the Supreme Court’s FAA jurisprudence, Part II will trace arbitration’s ascent from the enactment of the FAA in 1925 to the prominent status it enjoys today, particularly focusing on and critically analysing key decisions rendered in the last four decades. Part III will discern some of the most important implications of the status quo and discuss what is left of consumer protection in the arbitration context in the United States today. Lastly, Part IV will explore some approaches that would enhance consumer protection in arbitration along with their prospects, criticisms and justifications.

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