A few weeks ago the second edition of Talia Einhorn’s Private International Law in Israel was published by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business (www.kluwerlaw.com; ISBN 9789041145888). The second edition is a wholly updated and expanded version of the first, which appeared in 2009. While the first edition comprised of 393 pages, the second edition runs to 552, as to make provision for additional topics and for the many changes in Israeli private international law since 2009. The author provides the reader with a restatement of positive conflicts law in Israel, of which the most sources are only available in Hebrew, be it case law or legislation. She not only “untangles the web of Israeli sources of law affecting foreign legal relationships” (publisher’s website), but also provides guidance on the further development of the law on the basis of comparative research.
The fifth edition of Christopher Forsyth’s Private International Law. The Modern Roman-Dutch Law, including the Jurisdiction of the High Courts (2012) appeared recently. The author is professor of public law and private international law at the University of Cambridge. This work is the standard textbook on the private international law applicable in South Africa and most of its neighbouring countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe), as well as in Sri Lanka. Of interest to the foreign reader may be especially the sections on classification (76-90; the decision Society of Lloyd’s v Price; Society of Lloyd’s v Lee 2006 5 SA 393 (SCA) is regarded by the author as “the leading decision on characterization in the common-law world” (v)) and on the influence of constitutional values on private international law (19-20), including in the context of arrest to found or confirm jurisdiction (196), polygamous marriages (289-291), same-sex marriages (300-301), the proprietary consequences of marriages (302-303) and the enforcement of foreign judgements (468). More information can be found on the website of the publisher: www.juta.co.za.
- Bennett and Kopke “Characterization and ‘gap’ in the conflict of laws” 2008 South African Law Journal 62
- Eiselen “Goodbye arrest ad fundandam. Hello forum non conveniens?” 2008 TSAR 794
- Harder “Statutes of limitation between classification and renvoi: Australian and South African approaches compared” 2011 ICLQ 659
The decision in AC v CS 2011 2 SA 360 (WCC) (Western Cape High Court, Cape Town) deals with the recognition in South Africa of a civil partnership registered in the United Kingdom under the Civil Partnership Act, 2004. Gamble J obiter referred to the proprietary consequences of such partnership in South Africa.
See here for a database of publications in the field of New Zealand private international law. The editor is South-African-born Dr Elsabe Schoeman of the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
The recent decision of the Eastern Cape High Court in Grahamstown (South Africa) in Burchell v Anglin 2010 3 SA 48 (ECG) deals with cross-border defamation in a commercial context. The plaintiff (who runs a game reserve and a hunting safari business in the vicinity of Grahamstown) alleged that the defendant made defamatory statements about him to a booking agent in Sydney, Nebraska (USA). Most of his safari clients originated from this agent. However, the bookings suddenly and dramatically decreased and, according to the plaintiff, this was due to defamatory statements made by the defendant to the agent. Accordingly, he instituted action for general damages and loss of profit.
Crouse AJ decided that the lex loci delicti was the law of Nebraska as the defamatory statements were heard and read in that state. However, although “[weighing] heavily in the balancing scale” (par 124), the place of the delict was in final instance “only to be used as a factor in a balancing test to decide which jurisdiction would have the most real or significant relationship with the defamation and the parties” (par 128). Nevertheless, taking into account the other connecting factors (listed in par 124), the judge decided that the law of Nebraska would prima facie be applicable.
In the process, the judge rejects the double actionability rule of the English common law (par 113). She refers in some detail to foreign case law (from the UK, Canada and the USA) and to foreign commentators (including Harris and Fridman). Her views are similar to these found in Forsyth’s Private International Law (2003) 339-340, the leading textbook on Southern African private international law.
However, according to Crouse AJ, the defamation laws of Nebraska needed to pass constitutional muster to be applied by a South African court: “In South Africa the highest test for our public policy is our Constitution. Just as all South African law is under public scrutiny, so any foreign law which a court intends to apply in South Africa should be placed under constitutional scrutiny. I must therefore decide whether the law of Nebraska passes constitutional muster in South Africa before deciding I can apply [the] same” (par 127). The court is therefore of the opinion that constitutional norms are always of direct application. (A similar view may be found in the recent judgement of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Lloyd’s v Classic Sailing Adventures 2010 SCA 89 (31 May 2010) per www.justice.gov.za/sca.) The issue of conflict with constitutional norms was referred to decision at the end of the trial (par 127). This may lead to an interesting decision as US defamation law is perceived to be pro-defendant (the defendant alleges that his statements are protected under the US constitution) (par 121) while South African defamation law is, in comparison, more favourable to the plaintiff, also due to constitutional provisions.
In Lloyd’s v Classic Sailing Adventures (Pty) Ltd 2010 ZASCA 89 (31 May 2010) (available from www.justice.gov.za/sca) the South African Supreme Court of Appeal held that sections 53 and 54 of the South African Short-Term Insurance Act 53 of 1998 are rules of immediate application that cannot be excluded by a choice of law. English law was chosen as the proper law of the insurance contract. The court held that, in as far as the Marine Insurance Act 1906 (UK) was in conflict with the South African provisions, it would not be applied. Section 53 deals with the effect of non-disclosure and misrepresentations and “is designed to protect insured parties who are ignorant, careless or uneducated from unscrupulous insurers who attempt to escape liability” (par 24). Section 54 deals with the effect of a contravention of a law on a policy and “ensures that a policy is not avoided only because the insured has contravened a law” (par 24). In an important obiter dictum, the court indicates that constitutional norms are invariably of direct application (par 25). A similar view was recently adopted in Burchell v Anglin 2010 3 SA 48 (ECG), in the context of cross-border defamation.
In a recently published judgment of the High Court of South Africa, Cape Provincial Division (Silvercraft Helicopters (Switzerland) v Zonnekus Mansions 2009 (5) SA 602)), the Court had to deal with the question whether, in terms of the common law, an order for security for the claim, or only for costs, was to be made when an action (either in convention or in reconvention) is brought by an incola against a peregrinus. Citing a long passage in an article by Prof. Christian Schulze “Should a peregrine plaintiff furnish security for costs for the counterclaim of an incola defendant” , (2007) 19 South African Mercantile Law Journal 393-399, the Court adopted Schulze’s view and held “that there is indeed a practice operating in this division that would permit the court to grant an order directing the plaintiffs to give security for the potential value, and costs, of the second defendant’s claim in reconvention, but that all the circumstances should be considered before a plaintiff is compelled to provide security in full for a claim in reconvention”.
The final programme for the PIL conference at the University of Johannesburg, 8-11 Sept 09, is now available at www.uj.ac.za/law.
Private International Law in Israel
by Prof Talia Einhorn
Visiting Professor of Law / Indiana University School of Law
Visiting Senior Research Fellow / Tel-Aviv University Faculty of Management
Kluwer Law International