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Legal Aid Reform in the Netherlands: LASPO 2.0?

Legal Aid Reform in the Netherlands: LASPO 2.0?

By Jos Hoevenaars, Erasmus University Rotterdam (postdoc researcher ERC project Building EU Civil Justice)

Current policy discussions on ADR/ODR in France: towards greater regulation for the Legaltech?

By Alexandre Biard, Erasmus University Rotterdam (postdoc researcher ERC project Building EU Civil Justice)

In April 2018, the French government published a new draft legislation aimed at reforming and modernizing the French Justice system (Projet de loi de programmation 2018-2022 et de réforme pour la Justice). Among other things, the proposal is likely to trigger some significant changes in the French ADR/ODR landscape, and may have important consequences for the future development of the legaltech. The proposal is currently discussed before the French Parliament and Senate. The following elements should be noted:

By Friederike Henke, Advocaat & Rechtsanwältin at Buren in Amsterdam

The international demand for English language dispute resolution is increasing as the English language is commonly used in international trade and contracts as well as correspondence, not only between the trading partners themselves, but also by international parties, their legal departments and their advisors. Use of the English language in legal proceedings is expected to save time and money for translations and language barriers in general.

By Diana Kostina

The recent Court of Appeal judgment in Alexander Vik and Deutsche Bank AG [2018] EWCA Civ 2011confirmedthat contempt of court applications for alleged non-compliance with a court order can be served on a party outside the jurisdiction of England and Wales. The Court of Appeal’s judgment also contains a useful reminder of the key principles governing the powers of English courts to serve defendants outside of the jurisdiction.

On October 5th, The Cour de Cassation, the highest court in France for private law matters, requested an advisory opinion of the ECtHR (Ass. plén. 5 octobre 2018, n°10-19053). It is the first time a Contracting State applies to the ECtHR for an advisory opinion on the basis of Protocol n° 16 which entered into force on August 1st, 2018. The request relates to the legal parentage of children born to a surrogate mother. More specifically, it concerns the intended mother’s legal relationship with the child.

Last year the New Zealand singer Lorde cancelled a concert in Tel Aviv following an open letter by two New Zealand-based activists urging her to take a stand on Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. A few weeks later, the two activists found themselves the subject of a civil claim brought in the Israeli court. The claim was brought by the Israeli law group Shurat HaDin, on behalf of three minors who had bought tickets to the concert, pursuant to Israel’s so-called Anti-Boycott Law (the Law for the Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel through Boycott). The Israeli court has now released a judgment upholding the claim and ordering the activists to pay NZ$18,000 in damages (plus costs).

The Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law has made available two reports for the attention of its governance Council (i.e. the Council on General Affairs and Policy): the Report of the Experts’ Group on the Parentage / Surrogacy Project and the Report of the Experts’ Group on the Co-operation and Access to Justice for International Tourists.

Earlier today, the Court of Justice held that, under certain circumstances, special jurisdiction for an actio pauliana can be based on Art. 7(1) Brussels Ia (Case C-337/17 Feniks).

The actio pauliana is an instrument provided by the national laws of several EU member states that allows the creditor to challenge fraudulent acts by their debtor that have been committed to the creditor’s detriment. The ECJ already had several opportunities to decide on the availability of individual grounds of special jurisdiction for such an action, but has reliably denied their availability. In today’s decision however, the Court confirmed the availability of special jurisdiction for matters relating to contract, contrary to the proposition of AG Bobek (Opinion delivered on 21 June 2018).

By Erlis Themeli, Xandra Kramer, and Georgia Antonopoulou, Erasmus University Rotterdam (postdoc researcher, PI, and PhD candidate ERC project Building EU Civil Justice)

Previous posts on this blog have described the emerging international commercial and business courts in various Member States. While the primary aim is and should be improving the dispute resolution system for businesses, the establishment of these courts also points to the increase of competitive activities by certain Member States that try to attract international commercial litigation. Triggered by the need to facilitate business, prospects of financial gain, and more recently also by the supposed vacuum that Brexit will create, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium in particular have been busy establishing outlets for international commercial litigants. One of the previous posts by the present authors dedicated to these developments asked who will be next to enter the competition game started by these countries. In another post, Giesela Rühl suggested that the EU could be the next.

On 10 July 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rendered its judgment in the matter of Alan Philipps et al. v. the Federal Republic of Germany and the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

This case involves a claim by heirs of Holocaust victims for restitution of the „Welfenschatz“ (Guelph Treasure), a collection of medieval relics and devotional art housed for generations in the Cathedral of Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany. This treasure is now on display at the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin (Museum of Decorative Arts) which is run by the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz. The value of the treasure is estimated to amount to USD 250 million (according to the claim for damages raised in the proceedings).