The first issue of 2008’s Revue Critique de Droit International Privé has just been released. It contains three articles, but only one dealing with a conflict issue per se, the public law exception within the Brussels I Regulation after the Lechouritou case (“Les actes jure imperii et le Règlement Bruxelles I – A propos de l’affaire Lechouritou”). The two other articles discuss immigration law issues.
The article is authored by French scholars Horatia Muir Watt, who teaches at Paris I University (and who was our Guest Editor of last month), and Etienne Pataut, who teaches at Cergy University.
The authors have kindly provided the following abstract:
Inasmuch as private international law in continental legal systems is entirely structured by the distinction between private cross-border relationships subjected to the conflict of laws, and the public sphere, correlatively excluded, it is now undergoing profound transformations due to to the changing nature and function of substantive « private » law. The traditional opposition between public and private law is if not discredited, at least in search of re-definition. It is not surprising, therefore, that the “public law exception” which first appeared in the Brussels Convention in 1968 and continues to figure unaltered in the new Community private international law instruments, raises considerable difficulties in the case-law of the Court of justice, and gives rise to varying constructions in the courts of the various Member States. The 2007 Lechouritou case (C-292/05) is emblematic of these difficulties, insofar as it reveals a lack of coherence between the scope of sovereign immunity and the public law exception within the Brussels I Regulation. This article uses the Lechouritou case to revisit the distinction between public and « civil and commercial matters » and suggests a new reading of the Regulation in this context.