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Ralf Michaels

Hague Academy Postpones Summer Courses 2020

The Hague Academy has canceled its summer courses for 2020 and will hold them in the summer of 2021. The announcement, including a video message from the Secretary-General, is here. Moving the program online was rejected because students would not get the special experience of being in the Hague. The promise of other videos to posted on a new website will be only insufficient comfort.

The only prior time that the courses were canceled was World War II. It is sad news for countless students who were looking forward to the courses, for the (excellent) scholars who have prepared their courses, and for the discipline of private international law, which benefits from this regular event. The decision against bringing together students from all the world to one physical space seems eminently rational, and has been made with enough time for participants to adapt plans. The decision against holding the courses online may raise more mixed responses.

Legal Harmonization in Africa

Africa Silhouette Clip Art

After Chukwuma Okoli’s, recent post, on this blog, on African Private International Law, Lise Theunissen, who is currently a legal intern at the Hague Conference, now has a blogpost at afronomicslaw on the harmonization of Private International Law in the African Union. Add to that Justin Monsenepwo’s recent articles on legal unification at OHADA  and on the impact of the Hague Principles of Choice of Law on OHADA, and you start gaining the impression that interest in African private international law is growing – a good thing, undoubtedly.

The project on Gender and Private International Law (GaP) at the Hamburg Max Planck Institute, jointly organized by Ivana Isailovic and Ralf Michaels, will end the academic year with a bang! After the inaugural workshop (see Asma Alouane’s report here) and three successful reading sessions in the fall, there will be a whole day workshop with three themes and six fabulous conveyors who will enable a truly crossdisciplinary event.
A call for applications to take part is here. The deadline has been extended to February 15. Note that some travel and accommodation money is available for emergent scholars!

written by Claudia Madrid Martínez

On 28 April 2017, the government of Nicolás Maduro deposited with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS), a document whereby he expressed his “irrevocable decision to denounce the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) pursuant to Article 143 thereof, thereby initiating Venezuela’s permanent withdrawal from the Organization.”

Before the two years of the transition regime that the OAS Charter provides for cases of retirement from the Organization (art. 143), on 8 February 2019, Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly and interim president of the Republic, wrote to the OAS to “reiterate and formally express the decision of the Venezuelan State to annul the supposed denunciation of the OAS Charter, for Venezuela to be able to remain a member state of the Organization.”

ASADIP Annual Conference 2019: Report

written by Veronica Ruiz Abou-Nigm

ASADIP (American Association of Private International Law)

13th Annual Conference – Punta del Este, URUGUAY, 21-22 November 2019

TRANSNATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS OF LAW: Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, arbitral awards and other acts

On 21 and 22 November 2019, the 13thASADIP Annual Conference took place in Punta del Este (Uruguay) with the participation of more than 30 international speakers from several jurisdictions and over 130 attendees, mostly from the Latin American region, but also from North America and Europe. The theme of the conference was the Transnational Effectiveness of Law:Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Arbitral Awards and other Acts;

Rachael Mulheron, Asserting personal jurisdiction over non-resident class members: comparative insights for the United Kingdom

The opt-out class action involves a unique participant, viz, the absent class member whose claim is prosecuted by a representative claimant, who does not opt-out of the action nor do anything else in relation to it, and yet who is bound by its outcome. In a cross-border class action, the means by which a domestic court may validly assert personal jurisdiction over absent class members who are resident outside of that court’s jurisdiction remains perhaps the single biggest conundrum in modern class actions jurisprudence. The United Kingdom (UK) legislature requires that non-resident class members compulsorily opt-in to the UK’s competition law class action, in order to demonstrably signify their consent to the jurisdiction of the UK court. However, that legislative enactment is unusual, and becoming even rarer, in modern class actions statutes. The comparative analysis undertaken in this article demonstrates that where that type of statutory provision is not enacted, then the judicially-developed “anchors” by which to assert personal jurisdiction over non-resident class members are multifarious, diverse, and conflicting, across the leading class actions jurisdictions. This landscape yields important lessons for UK law-makers, and strongly suggests that the UK legislature’s approach towards non-resident class members represents “best practice”, in what is a complex conundrum of class actions law.

Private International Law in Africa: Comparative Lessons

Written by Chukwuma Okoli, TMC Asser Institute, The Hague

About a decade ago, Oppong lamented a “stagnation” in the development of private international law in Africa. That position is no longer as true as it was then – there is progress. Though the African private international law community is small, the scholarship can no longer be described as minimal (see the bibliograhy at the end of this post). There is a growing interest in the study of private international law in Africa. Why is recent interest on the study of private international law [in Africa] important to Africa? What lessons can be learn’t from other non-African jurisdictions on the study of private international law?

written by Ivana Isailovic & Ralf Michaels 

We are excited to announce the launch of a new transdisciplinary research project,  Gender and Private International Law (GaP), based at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law (MPI). 

This project is born out of a sense of scholarly and political urgency in a rapidly shifting world, where both conversations about gender equality and a powerful backlash against gender and LGBTQI justice are on the rise. Unlike other legal fields, private international law (“PIL”) has for the most part been absent from this conversation, with some rare (here, here & here) exceptions (see also the panel on women & PIL). The field is almost never analyzed using the concept of ‘gender’, or using methodologies and ideas developed by gender studies scholars. Similarly, scholars working on gender and the law tend to overlook how PIL regulates gender and distributes power and privilege at the transnational level. Transnational studies focusing on gender, often prioritize human rights analyses, or cultural issues, ignoring how PIL techniques and practices interact with identity, and negotiate differences.

A half-day Conference at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg, jointly convened by Ralf Michaels (Max Planck) and Verónica Ruiz Abou-Nigm (Edinburgh) will look at the (renewed) role of academia in Latin American Private International Law. Participants will come from several Latin American countries, as well as from the Institute.
More information and the program are here. The conference takes place on September 10, 13:00-17:30. Registrations by email at

Thank you to everyone who responded to the call for paper. For those who were not yet ready, the deadline has been extended to May 17.