Author Archives: Martin George

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We’re refurbishing – please excuse our dust

Many of you will have noticed that much of the functionality on the site has temporarily disappeared. This is intentional, or at least as intentional as it could be. I will not bore you with details of servers and software, backends and frameworks, but suffice to say when all of this was upgraded, it broke the design of the site. So, I am now working on a new design which does work, but this will take me a little time. Until then, you should still see all of the posts on here, receive of all the updates, and be able to comment as appropriate.

5th Journal of Private International Law Conference, Madrid, 12-13 Sep 2013

Building on the very successful Journal of Private International Law conferences in Aberdeen (2005), Birmingham (2007), New York (2009), and Milan (2011) the 5th Conference of the Journal will take place in Madrid on 12-13 September 2013. The organization of the Conference is shared by the Law Faculties of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Universidad Complutense. The Programme is reproduced in full below. All of the details on venue, accommodation and registration can be found on the conference website.

The Programme

Thursday 12th  September 2013

9.00 – 9.30 Registration

9.30 – 10.00 Welcome session (J. Harris + local judicial or academic authorities)

10.00 – 11.30 Panels  Continue reading

Third Issue of 2011′s Journal of Private International Law

The latest issue of the Journal of Private International Law has just been published. The contents:

Arbitration and the Draft Revised Brussels I Regulation: Seeds of Home Country Control and of Harmonisation?

Luca G Radicati di Brozolo

In this article I discuss the provisions on arbitration of the European Commission’s December 2010 draft recast of Reg (EC) 41/2001 against the backdrop of the earlier proposals on the inclusion of arbitration within the scope of the Regulation. The analysis focuses principally on the functioning and implications of the lis pendens mechanism laid down by Article 29(4) of the draft, pointing out the analogy between the role conferred on the law and forum of the seat of the arbitration and the mechanism of home country control that is at the heart of European Union law. The article also analyses the reasons and positive consequences of the Commissions’ restraint in not extending the scope of the Regulation to other arbitration-related issues, especially the circulation of judgments dealing with the validity of arbitration agreements and awards. The article’s conclusion is that the Commission’s proposal is well balanced. Whilst it does not solve all problems relating to conflicts between court proceedings and arbitration within the EU, it addresses the most pressing one, that of concurrent court and arbitration proceedings. Moreover, it does so in terms which, in contrast to the use of anti-suit injunctions in aid of arbitration, are reconcilable with the basic tenets of European Union law. Its approach is indisputably favourable to the development of arbitration and does not jeopardise the acquis in terms of arbitration law of the more advanced member States.

European Public Policy (with an Emphasis on Exequatur Proceedings)

Jerca Kramberger Škerl

After addressing the historical role of the public policy defence in private international law, the author defines European public policy and researches its protection in the case-law of the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Court of Human Rights.

The paper further discusses the possible differences and contradictions between the fundamental values of the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law in the context of giving effect to foreign judgments. Regulations already abolishing the exequatur are assessed from the human rights point of view. The relationship between European public policy and the fundamental values arising from public international law is also treated.

Finally, the author evaluates the impact of the adoption of the Lisbon treaty and the process of revision of the Brussels I Regulation on the protection of European public policy in the EU Member states.

Reflections on the Mexico Convention in the Context of the Preparation of the Future Hague Instrument on International Contracts

José Antonio Moreno Rodriguez and María Mercedes Albornoz

The Hague Conference is creating a soft law instrument on international contracts, whicis expected to promote a general admission of the principle of party autonomy. Even if it is nowadays accepted in developed countries, this principle still needs consolidation in other regions of the world, like Latin America. In this context, the importance of the modern solutions adopted by the Mexico Convention on the law applicable to international contracts is outstanding. It is not only that the Mexico Convention clearly accepts party autonomy, but it is also well-known even outside the American continent, for its reception of lex mercatoria –an achievement that we do not find in the European Rome I Regulation. This article carries out an analysis of the main provisions of the Mexico Convention, in order to highlight some of the reflections it should provoke during the preparation of the Hague instrument.

Where Does Economic Loss Occur?

Matthias Lehmann

It is well-known that rules of private international law for torts often refer to the place where the damage has occurred. Locating this place poses serious difficulties if no physical object has been harmed, but only economic or “financial” loss has been suffered. These cases are of tremendous practical importance. The contribution provides an in-depth analysis of the problem and compares solutions adopted by EU and Swiss courts. Finally, the author suggests an original step-by-step approach as to how to determine the place of economic loss.

International Litigation Trends in Environmental Liability: A European Union–United States Comparative Perspective

Carmen Otero García-Castrillón

At times where environmental concerns take a predominant role and corporate social responsibility is at the forefront of various legal debates, the fact that the laws and/or the judicial proceedings -to establish it and to order remedies- in the country of damage could be inadequate or even non-existent, makes it appropriate to reflect on the opportunities provided by the international litigation system of the European Union (EU) as compared to the system of the United States (US). Responding to the recent case law, this paper reflects on the international environmental litigation trends from a private international law perspective, analysing the jurisdiction and conflict of laws issues that, within this field, interact with a number of international civil liability conventions. In this regard, the complex determination of the applicable law and the liability limitations in the EU do not prevent the conclusion that, due to recent jurisdiction and applicable law trends in the US, international environmental litigation may be turning to the eastern side of the Atlantic.

Intellectual Property Rights Infringements in European Private International Law: Meeting the Requirements of Territoriality and Private International Law

Sophie Neumann

The article tends to compare and analyse the private international law solutions adopted by the European legislator and their possible justification for the infringement of intellectual property rights against the background of territoriality of intellectual property rights and against the background of the different methodological approaches adopted, on the one hand, by the Rome II Regulation for the applicable law and, on the other hand, by the Brussels I Regulation for jurisdiction. The thesis to be analysed is that the respective solutions concerning the infringement of intellectual property rights can be read both in an intellectual property perspective against the background of territoriality and in a private international law perspective against the background of a more “genuine” private international law interests’ analysis. Both perspectives are affected by territoriality and therefore often lead, notwithstanding the methodological differences, to the same result in practice.

Dual Nationality = Double Trouble?

Thalia Kruger and Jinske Verhellen

The occurrence of dual nationality is increasing, due to several reasons. This article investigates the considerations private international law uses to deal with dual nationality, especially in civil law countries, where nationality is an important connecting factor and is sometimes even used for purposes of jurisdiction. Four such considerations are identified: preference for the forum nationality, the closest connection, the influence of EU law, and the principle of choice by the parties. When analysing the applications of these four considerations in issues of jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition of foreign authentic acts or judgments, one sees that not all conflicts are real. The authors argue that false conflicts (for instance where jurisdiction can be based on the common nationality of the spouses under the Brussels IIbis Regulation) need no resolution. Both nationalities can carry equal weight in these cases. For real conflicts (for instance application of the law of the common nationality of the spouses under Art. 8c of the Rome III Regulation), a broad closest-connection test should be maintained, rather than a preference for the forum nationality (which relies heavily on arguments of State sovereignty). A closest-connection test based on objective factors is the most reliable in ensuring an outcome respectful of legal certainty.

International Surrogacy Arrangements: An Urgent Need for Legal Regulation at the International Level

Katarina Trimmings and Paul Beaumont

Recent developments and research in the area of reproductive medicine have resulted in various treatment options becoming available to infertile couples. One of them is the use of a surrogate mother. Over the last two decades, surrogacy has become an increasingly popular method of reproductive technology.

Surrogacy targets the same clientele as its counterpart, adoption. It follows that with an increasingly limited global market for adoption, surrogacy will continue expanding. It is no exaggeration to say that the modern world has already witnessed the development of an extensive international surrogacy market. This market, although initially largely unnoticed, has recently attracted a great deal of interest by the media.

A source of worry, however, is the completely unregulated character of global surrogacy. Addressing this issue, this paper seeks to outline a potential legislative framework for a private international law instrument that could regulate cross-border surrogacy arrangements.

Review Article

A review article by Sirko Harder of K Boele-Woelki, T Einhorn, D Girsberger and S Symeonides (eds), Convergence and Divergence in Private International Law: Liber Amicorum Kurt Siehr

You can access this issue online and purchase individual papers. You can, alternatively (and it’s recommended by us), subscribe to the Journal.

Ruehl on Statut und Effizienz: Ökonomische Grundlagen des Internationalen Privatrechts

Giesela Ruehl (Friedrich-Schiller University Jena and our new editor for Germany) has published her Habilitationsschrift on Statut und Effizienz: Ökonomische Grundlagen des Internationalen Privatrechts [Applicable Law and Efficiency. Economic Foundations of Private International Law]. Here’s an English description (the monograph itself is in German):

Is private international law an efficient answer to the problems of international transactions? In her recent book on the economic foundations of private international law, Giesela Rühl explores this question in great detail.

She analyses choice of law-rules on a broad comparative basis and uses economic theory to tackle fundamental conceptual issues just as well as specific problems in the private international law of contracts and torts. Focusing on the recently adopted Rome I- and Rome II-Regulations she contributes to the understanding of the developing European private international law.

The book is organized in four parts. In the first part, the author analyses the problems of international transactions from an economic perspective. She takes a closer look at the specific problems associated with international transactions and asks whether private international law – as compared to other governmental, non-governmental, regulatory or non-regulatory mechanisms – is a suitable or at least necessary instrument to deal with these problems. In the second part, the author lays the theoretical foundation for an economic analysis of private international law. She explores whether economic theory may be used to analyse issues in private international law and whether the basic assumptions and assessment criteria of economic theory may claim application. In the third part, the author re-conceptualises private international law from an economic perspective. She develops a general economic framework for the determination of the applicable law essentially based on free choice of law. In the fourth and final part, the author applies this framework to specific issues in choice of law, most importantly contracts and torts.

ISBN 978-3-16-150698-7. Leinen € 99.00. More information is available on the publisher’s website.

Clarkson & Hill, The Conflict of Laws (4th edn OUP, 2011)

Clarkson & HillThose who teach or study in private international law will be interested to know that Chris Clarkson and Jonathan Hill have published the 4th edition of their excellent student text on The Conflict of Laws. From the blurb:

  • Covers the basic principles of the conflict of laws in a succinct and approachable style making this an ideal introductory text
  • Explains complex points of law and terminology clearly and without oversimplification, offering both an authoritative and accessible approach to a subject which has changed greatly in recent years
  • Offers comprehensive coverage for undergraduate and postgraduate courses on the Conflict of Laws.
  • Provides analysis of existing legislation in addition to considering reform proposals and theoretical issues.

New to this edition

  • Restructured content better reflects the topic coverage of typical undergraduate courses in Conflict of Laws and allows for extended analysis of the most relevant topics
  • Expanded introductory chapter discusses the major changes to the subject and the theoretical issues surrounding it
  • Fully updated to reflect the emphasis on issues relating to jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in private international law
  • Completely re-written chapter on choice of law relating to non-contractual obligations (Rome II Regulation)
  • Substantially revised chapter on choice of law relating to contractual obligations in light of the Rome I Regulation
  • Revised chapters on habitual residence and matrimonial causes taking account of increasing case-law (both domestic and European) on the Brussels II Revised Regulation.

The fourth edition of this work provides a clear and up-to-date account of the private international law topics covered in undergraduate courses. Theoretical issues are introduced in the first chapter and, where appropriate, considered in greater detail in later chapters. Basic principles of the conflict of laws are presented in an approachable style, offering clarity on complex points and terminology without over-simplification.

The area of conflict of laws has undergone a profound change in recent decades. Much of the subject is now dominated by legislation, both domestic and European, rather than by case law. In practical terms, issues relating to jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments have taken centre stage and choice of law questions have become of less practical importance.

These changing emphases in private international law are fully reflected in this book. The authors provide detailed analyses of the most important commercial topics (civil jurisdiction, the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgements, and choice of law relating to contractual and non-contractual obligations) as well as the most central topics in family law (marriage, matrimonial causes and property law).

OUP has kindly offered a 15% discount to all of our readers: purchase the text direct from OUP’s website, then use promotional code WEBXSTU15 when you add the book to your shopping basket. This takes the book from £34.99 to £29.74. Overwhelmingly recommended.

Commercial Conflict of Laws Course – Sydney Summer School in Oxford, July 2011

As part of the University of Sydney’s Summer School Programme, there will be a Commercial Conflict of Laws course at Magdelen College, Oxford on 11-12 and 14-15 July 2011. It will be taught by Andrew Bell and Andrew Dickinson. From the website:


  • Focus on commercial disputes with a transnational dimension.
  • Determine the features which characterise transnational commercial litigation, where the forum is itself a matter of dispute.
  • Identify and apply techniques for determining the law applicable to contractual and non-contractual claims.
  • Compare and contrast the approaches to commercial private international law topics in Australia, UK and the European Union


The importance of venue in commercial litigation; Australian, UK and European approaches to jurisdiction; techniques of forum control; the law relating to anti-suit injunctions; the role of jurisdiction and arbitration agreements; introduction and ascertainment of foreign law; provisional measures, including freezing injunctions; rules of applicable law for contractual and non-contractual claims; and the distinction between substance and procedure..

The course is open to everyone, and may be of special interest to Australian lawyers working in London. Further details can be found on Sydney’s website.

Pacta Sunt Servanda and Article 22.2 of the Brussels I Regulation

This post is written by Adrian Briggs, Professor of Private International Law at the University of Oxford.

One should note the decision of the European Court in C-144/10 BVG v JP Morgan Chase (12th May, 2011: Third Chamber), which held that where a bank sues to enforce the obligations of a swap contract which is valid according to its governing law, and the corporate defendant raises by way of defence the contention that its constitution or constitutional law deprived it of legal power to enter into the contract, the matter is not one to which Article 22.2 of the Brussels I Regulation applies, and it does not follow that the defence must be adjudicated, or the whole action prosecuted, in the court in which the corporate entity has its seat. This is because the point of company law or company validity is to be seen as no more than incidental or ancillary to the main issue, which is a contractual one. It followed that proceedings brought  by the corporate German entity in Germany, by which it sought a declaration that it was not bound by a swaps contract which it had entered into with the bank, was not one which Article 22.2 allowed or required the German courts to hear, as Article 22.2 had no application to the proceedings.

The consequence was that the attempt of the corporate entity to derail earlier-commenced proceedings brought by the bank against the corporate entity in the English courts to enforce the obligations of the contract, by bringing counter-proceedings in Germany and seeking to use Article 22.2 as a mechanism to contend that the German courts were not bound by Article 27 to yield jurisdiction to the English courts – relying for this contention on the point left open after Overseas Union Insurance and never since settled – fell at the first fence. There being no jurisdiction in the German court in the first place, there was no need to go on to consider the Article 27 point, which is in one respect a pity.

Some will see in this a welcome piece of common sense, entirely in accord with the manner in which the English High Court and Court of Appeal had addressed (albeit in mirror image) the same issue in the proceedings which the bank had brought: BVG v Morgan Chase Bank NA [2010] EWCA Civ 390. It also means that the reference made in the same proceedings by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom at the end of last year, registered as Case C-54/11, is now practically redundant, and the reference should now be withdrawn. It also means that the way Art 22.2 operates, in that it is triggered only when the company law point is the principal issue in the proceedings, and which it will not be where the company law point is a mere defence to a contractual claim which has been or will be asserted, is different from the way Art 22.4 works. This is because the validity of a patent, as any fule kno, is always at the heart and core of an infringement action, in the way the validity of the decision of an organ of a company is not always at the heart of a contract claim against that company, even when the company takes the point of validity as the whole of its defence.

Fawcett & Torremans on Intellectual Property and Private International Law (2nd edn)

James Fawcett (Nottingham) and Paul Torremans (Nottingham) have published the second edition of their monograph on Intellectual Property and Private International Law (2011, OUP). The blurb:

  • Offers a comparative approach of private international law and intellectual property law and assesses how these disciplines impact on and co-operate with the other
  • A new edition of a major work by top figures in the field which was the first full account in the legal literature and remains the only significant systematic treatment
  • Addresses the large number of intellectual property cases that now involve foreign law, particularly in commercial courts and which are now of increasinging significance to practitioners

New to this edition

  • Updated to take into account the replacement of the Brussels Convention by the Brussels I Regulation
  • Updated to take into account the introduction of the Rome II Regulation dealing with the applicable law in relation to non-contractual obligations
  • Includes coverage of the extensive case law from national courts and the ECJ
  • Brings case law on the issue of the Community Trade Mark and Directive up to date
  • Includes all the major new Directives, eg implementing the WIPO treaties 1996
  • Considers the development of the case law on the interaction between trade marks and domain names
  • New chapters added; jurisdiction and validity of rights; jurisdiction, the internet and intellectual property rights; current proposals for jurisdictional reform; choice of law and the internet; reform in relation to the applicable law
  • Fully updated and substantially rewritten to take account of the many major changes in the law over the past ten years

Intellectual property has traditionally been regulated on a territorial basis. However, the protection and commercial exploitation of intellectual property rights such as patents, trade marks, designs and copyright occurring across borders are now seldom confined to one jurisdiction. This book considers how the introduction of a foreign element inevitably raises potential problems of private international law, ranging from establishing which court has jurisdiction and which is the applicable law to securing the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.

The Internet has brought a significant increase in the scale of this phenomenon and valuable new chapters have been added to this edition to reflect this. Nationally protected trade marks are now used globally on websites and copyright material is distributed, communicated and copied in a world without borders. Patents have already been licensed on a transnational basis for several decades. All this raises questions of jurisdiction and applicable law. The well-respected and expert author team address such questions as; which court will have jurisdiction to deal with the issues arising from intellectual property rights and their exploitation in an international context? And which national law will the court with jurisdiction apply? Private international law questions increasingly arise and the two disciplines that previously operated in different spheres are increasingly obliged to co-operate.

Although such issues are becoming increasingly important, a dearth of literature exists on the subject. Fawcett and Torremans remedy that neglect and provide a systematic and comprehensive analysis of the topic that will be welcomed by practitioners and scholars alike.

Chapter 4 is available as a sample PDF. You can purchase it from Amazon UK for £185.25, or from OUP for £195.