Recently, the January issue of the German law journal “Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts” (IPRax) was published.
It contains the following articles/case notes (including the reviewed decisions):
- Heinz-Peter Mansel/Karsten Thorn/Rolf Wagner: “Europäisches Kollisionsrecht 2009: Hoffnungen durch den Vertrag von Lissabon” – the English abstract reads as follows:
This article provides an overview on the developments in Brussels concerning the judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters from November 2008 until November 2009. It summarizes the current projects in the EC legislation and presents some new instruments. Furthermore, it refers to the national German laws as a consequence of the new European instruments. This article also shows the areas of law where the EU has made use of its external competence. With regard to the ECJ, important decisions and some pending cases are presented. In addition, the article deals with important changes as to judicial cooperation resulting from the Treaty of Lisbon. It is widely criticised that the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the European Community should improve their cooperation. An important basis for the enhancement of this cooperation is the exchange of information among all parties involved. Therefore, the present article turns to the current projects of the Hague Conference as well.
- Ulrich Magnus: “Die Rom I-Verordnung” – the English abstract reads as follows:
December 17, 2009 is a marked day for international contract law in Europe. From that day on, the court of the EU Member States (except Denmark) have to apply the conflicts rules of the Rome I Regulation to all transborder contracts concluded on or after that day. Fortunately, the Rome I Regulation builds very much on the fundaments of its predecessor, the Rome Convention of 1980, and amends that Convention only moderately. Though progress is limited, the amendments should not be underestimated. First, the communitarisation of international contract law will secure a stricter uniform interpretation of the Rome I Regulation through the European Court of Justice. Secondly, the changes strengthen legal certainty and reduce to some extent the courts’ discretion, however without sacrificing the necessary flexibility. This is the case in particular with the requirements for an implicit chance of law, which now must be clearly demonstrated; with the escape clauses, which come into play when a manifestly closer connection points to another law or with the definition of overriding mandatory provisions, which apply irrespective of the law otherwise applicable (Art. 9 par. 1). Legal certainty is also strengthened by a number of clarifying provisions, among them that the franchisee’s and distributor’s law governs their contracts, that set-off follows the law of the claim against which set-off is asserted or that the redress claim of one joint debtor against another is governed by the law that applies to the claiming debtor’s obligation forwards the creditor. Thirdly, the protection of the weaker party through conflicts rules has been considerably extended and aligned to the Brussels I Regulation. Yet, some weaknesses have survived. These are the continuity of the confusing coexistence of the Rome I conflicts rules and further special conflicts rules in a number of EU Directives on consumer protection, the hardly convincing system of differing conflicts rules on insurance contracts and still open questions us to the rules applicable to assignments and their scope. It is to be welcomed that the Rome I Regulation itself (Art. 27) has already set these problems on the agenda for further amendment.
- Peter Kindler: “Vom Staatsangehörigkeits- zum Domizilprinzip: das künftige internationale Erbrecht der Europäischen Union” – the English abstract reads as follows:
On October 14, 2009 the Commission of the European Communities has adopted a “Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions and Authentic Instruments in Matters of Succession and the Creation of a European Certificate of Succession” (COM  154 final 2009/0157 [COD] (SEC  410), (SEC  411). Its aim is to remove obstacles to the free movement of persons in the Union resulting from the diversity of both the rules under substantive law and the rules of international jurisdiction or of applicable law, the multitude of authorities to which international successions matters can be referred and the fragmentation of successions which can result from these divergent rules. According to the Proposal the competence lies with the Member state where the deceased had their last habitual residence, and this includes ruling on all elements of the succession, irrespective of whether adversarial or non-adversarial proceedings are involved (Article 4). The author welcomes this solution considering that the last habitual residence of the deceased will frequently coincide with the location of the deceased’s property. As to the applicable law, the Proposal again uses the last habitual residence of the deceased as the principal connection factor (Article 16), but at the same time allows the testators to opt for their national law as that applying to their successions (Article 17). In this respect, the author is critical on the universal nature of the proposed Regulation (Article 25) and, inter alia, advocates the admission of referral in case the last habitual residence of the deceased is located outside the European Union. Furthermore, the author is in favour of a wider range of choice-of-law-options for the testator as foreseen in the Hague Convention 1 August 1989 on the Law Applicable to Succession to the Estates of Deceased Persons.
- Wolfgang Hau: “Doppelte Staatsangehörigkeit im europäischen Eheverfahrensrecht” – the English abstract reads as follows:
The question how multiple nationality is to be treated under the European rules on matrimonial matters was rather misleadingly answered by Alegría Borrás in her Official Report on the Brussels II Convention and it is still open in respect of the Regulation No 2201/2003. In the Hadadi case, the European Court of Justice has now pointed out that every nationality of a Member State held by both spouses is to be taken into account regardless of its effectivity. The Hadadi case directly concerns only the rather particular context of Article 64 (4) of the Regulation. In this case note it is argued that the considerations of the ECJ are convincing and also applicable to more common settings of the multiple-nationality problem within the Brussels II regime. On the occasion of the ongoing reform of the Regulation, it should however be carefully considered whether nationality of the spouses is an appropriate and indispensable basis of jurisdiction anyway.
- Jörg Dilger: “EuEheVO: Identische Doppelstaater und forum patriae (Art. 3 Abs. 1 lit. b)” – the English abstract reads as follows:
The essay reviews another judgment of the European Court of Justice relating to the Regulation (EC) No. 2201/2003 (Brussels IIA). Having to deal with spouses sharing the common nationality of two member states (Hungary and France), the ECJ – following the convincing AG’s opinion – held that where the court of a member state addressed had to verify, pursuant to Article 64 (4), whether the court of a member state of origin of a judgment would have had jurisdiction under Article 3 (1) (b), the court had to take into account the fact that the spouses also held the nationality of the member state of origin and that therefore the courts of the latter could also have had jurisdiction under that provision. Since the spouses might seize a court of the member state of their choice, the evolving conflict of jurisdictions had to be solved by means of the lis alibi pendens rule (Article 19 (1)). Given the special procedural situation, the author starts by analyzing the transitional rule in Article 64 (4) which empowers the courts of one member state to examine the jurisdiction of another member state’s courts. He then examines the ECJ’s reasoning and comes to the conclusion that de lege lata the ECJ’s decision is correct. He finally shows that the ECJ’s solution is not limited to transitional cases falling within the scope of Article 64, but applies to all the cases in which the court seized – which, not having jurisdiction pursuant Articles 3 to 5, considers having resort to jurisdiction according to its national law (“residual jurisdiction”) – has to examine whether the courts of another member state have jurisdiction under the regulation (Article 17). Moreover, the solution elaborated by the ECJ also applies to spouses who share the common nationality of a member state and the common domicile pursuant to Article 3 (1) b, (2).
- Felipe Temming: “Europäisches Arbeitsprozessrecht: Zum gewöhnlichen Arbeitsort bei grenzüberschreitend tätigen Außendienstmitarbeitern” – the English abstract reads as follows:
The Austrian High Court of Vienna has published a judgment on the topic of jurisdiction where an employee is relocated from Austria to Germany but the relocation never took effect. The employee was relocated pursuant to sections 99 and 95(3) Betriebsverfassungsgesetz, which raised the question of a change of jurisdiction according to Art. 19 No. 2 lit. a Regulation 44/2001/EC. The proceedings before the regional court of Innsbruck were brought by a sales representative against his Berlin-based employer in an action for payment. The employee was domiciled near Innsbruck from where he serviced customers in the area of Innsbruck and South-Germany and was transferred to Berlin however the employee became ill and the transfer never took effect. The case note first addresses issues regarding the personal scope of the Betriebsverfassungsgesetz in cross-border and external situations (part II.). It argues that the membership in an undertaking is the preferable criterion in order to establish the necessary link and only a consistent approach will lead to coherent and fair results. The case note then briefly revisits the long-standing jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice on matters of the habitual – usual – work place according to Art. 5 No. 1 of the Brussels Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, which was incorporated into Art. 19 of Regulation 44/2001/EC (part III.). The case note furthermore refers to section 48(1a) Arbeitsgerichtsgesetz which came into effect on 1 April 2008 and gives German labour courts jurisdiction at the habitual work place in matters solely internal to Germany. Art. 19 No. 2 lit. a of Regulation 44/2001/EC founds its counterpart in this new German law. The enactment of section 48(1a) Arbeitsgerichtsgesetz is consistent with Germany’s Federal Labour Court which has set out in several cases the doctrine of the uniform place of performance of work as the criterion for jurisdiction in labour law cases and in so doing has followed the path laid down by the ECJ in the early Ivenel case. The legislation enacts the decisions which have been held by the Federal Labour Court and had not been supported by leading German scholars. The case note ends with concluding remarks (part IV.)
- Marianne Andrae/Steffen Schreiber: “Zum Ausschluss der Restzuständigkeit nach Art. 7 EuEheVO über Art. 6 EuEheVO” – the English abstract reads as follows:
The article deals with a decision of the Austrian Supreme Court of Justice concerning the exclusion of residual jurisdiction according to art. 7 Brussels IIa Regulation in case there is no jurisdiction under art. 3–5 Brussels IIa Regulation but the defendant spouse is a national of a Member State. The authors agree with the decision. Only if no member state has jurisdiction on the lawsuit and if the rules of jurisdiction in art. 3–5 are not exclusive for any action against the defendant spouse, does art. 7 allow to determine the jurisdiction according to the law of the relative Member State. According to art. 6, the rules of jurisdiction in art. 3–5 are exclusive if the defendant spouse has his/her habitual residence in a Member State or if he/she is a national of a Member State. However, it is not necessary for the exclusion of residual jurisdiction under art. 6 that any member state actually has jurisdiction under art. 3–5. Even though the abatement of art. 6 and the introduction of new rules of residual jurisdiction may be desirable, this effect must not be achieved by simply interpreting the current art. 6 this way.
- Katharina Jank-Domdey/Anna-Dorothea Polzer: “Ausländische Eheverträge auf dem Prüfstand der Common Law Gerichte” – the English abstract reads as follows:
Courts in a number of important common law jurisdictions until recently gave little or no weight to prenuptial contracts entered into in civil law jurisdictions such as France or Germany. These contracts typically contain provisions as to the spouses’ marital property regime or their maintenance after divorce. Recent decisions, however, show a clear trend towards the enforceability of such agreements. The paper discusses the judgments of the Court of Appeals of New York in Van Kipnis v. Van Kipnis (11 NY3d 573) involving a French separation of property agreement and of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales in Radmacher v. Granatino ( EWCA Civ 649), involving a German contract providing for the separation of property and the exclusion of spousal maintenance in case of divorce, and looks at their precedents. While none of the courts concludes that the foreign law under which the contracts were made must be applied they in fact enforce the spouses’ agreements as to the financial consequences of their divorce. According to the English court, however, giving due weight to a foreign prenuptial agreement is subject to the principle of fairness and must safeguard the interests of the couple’s children.
- Sven Klaiber on the new Algerian international civil procedural law as well as arbitration law: “Neues internationales Zivilprozess- und Schiedsrecht in Algerien”
- Erik Jayme on the third Heidelberg conference on art law: “Kunst im Markt – Kunst im Streit Internationale Bezüge und weltweiter Kampf um Urheberrechte – III. Heidelberger Kunstrechtstag”