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By Dr Lukas Schmidt (PhD EBS Law School), law clerk (Rechtsreferendar) at the Regional Court of Wiesbaden, Germany

In cross-border insolvencies questions of international jurisdiction might arise either in relation to the opening of an insolvency proceeding as such, or – further down the road – in relation to proceedings deriving from already opened insolvency proceedings. In both cases the European Insolvency Regulation Recast (Regulation 2015/848) provides for answers: According to Article 3 of the Regulation the courts of the Member State within the territory of which the centre of a debtor’s main interests is situated shall have jurisdiction to open insolvency proceedings. Article 6 of the Regulation provides that the courts in such Member States shall have jurisdiction as well for actions deriving directly from insolvency proceedings and closely linked with them. Both kind of decisions are to be automatically recognized in all other member states, either through Art. 19 (judgments opening insolvency proceedings) or through Art. 32 (other judgments).

White Paper on Smart Derivatives Contract

by Matthias Lehmann

Smart contracts and the conflict of laws is a widely discussed topic today (see for instance the post by Giesela Rühl). A new contribution to this debate comes from ISDA, the International Swaps and Derivatives, in collaboration with the Singapore Academy of Law and leading law firms. Also involved is the provider of an existing smart contract platform (Corda), which guarantees the paper’s practical relevance. The analysis focuses on a potential smart derivative contract to be implemented on Corda. 

Written by Prof. Dr. Stefan Arnold, Thorben Eick and Cedric Hornung, University of Münster

Digitization, Artificial Intelligence and the blockchain technology are core elements of a historic transformation of modern society. Such transformations necessarily challenge traditional legal concepts. Hitherto, the academic discourse is much more intense in the area of substantial private law than it is in the area of Private International Law. Thus, a conference on the specific challenges of Artificial Intelligence and Digitization for Private International Law was long overdue. Stefan Arnold and Gerald Mäsch of the Institute of International Business Law (WWU Münster) organized a conference with that specific focus on November 8th at Münster University. The title of the conference was »Conflict of laws 4.0: Artificial Intelligence, smart contracts and bitcoins as challenges for Private International Law«. Around a hundred legal scholars, practitioners, doctoral candidates and students attended the conference.

Written by Dr Rishi Gulati, Barrister, Victorian Bar, Australia; LSE Fellow in Law, London School of Economics

The interaction between public and private international law is becoming more and more manifest. There is no better example of this interaction than the Shape v Supreme litigation ongoing before Dutch courts, with the most recent decision in this dispute rendered in December 2019 in Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (“SHAPE”) et al v Supreme Site Service GmbH et al (Supreme), COURT OF APPEAL OF ‘s-HERTOGENBOSCH, Case No. 200/216/570/01, Ruling of 10 December 2019 (the ‘CoA Decision’). I first provide a summary of the relevant facts. Second, a brief outline of the current status of the litigation is provided. Third, I make some observations on how public and private international law interact in this dispute. 

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.”

By Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar, LLM, PhD, KIMEP University

A first instance court in Barbastro (Aragón) has ruled that a great number of valuable works of art presently on display at the museum of the Catholic diocese of Lleida (Catalonia) are the property of parishes of the diocese of Barbastro-Monzón and must be immediately returned. In its reasoning, the court has given a lot of weight to the fact that, in the decades long dispute between the two Spanish ecclesiastical entities, the diocese of Lleida had agreed to comply with a 2007 ruling of the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest administrative court in the Catholic Church, whose decisions may only be overturned by the Pope himself. This case does not only rise the issue of the recognition of “foreign” ecclesiastical decisions or, alternatively, their relevance for state courts but also how indistinguishable is the science of private international law from the study of legal pluralism, i.e. the interaction of various legal systems over the same territory, subjects and subject-matters.

Carlos Santaló Goris, Researcher at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Luxembourg, offers a summary and an analysis of the CJEU’s judgment in Joined cases C-453/18 and C-494/18 – Bondora.  


On 19 December 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) rendered its 10th judgment on Regulation 1896/2006 establishing a European Payment Order (“EPO Regulation”). The EPO Regulation introduced the most successful of the uniform civil procedures at European level, allowing creditors the cross-border recovery of pecuniary claims. In this long awaited judgment (particularly by the Spanish tribunals and academia), the CJEU resolved the following inquiry: can tribunals request additional information from the creditor relating to the terms of the agreement in order to examine ex officio the fairness of the terms of the contract invoked as a basis for a European Payment Order (“EPO”)?

The latest issue of the „Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts (IPRax)“ features the following articles:

H. Schack: The new Hague Judgment Convention

This contribution presents the new Hague Convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in civil or commercial matters adopted on 2 July 2019 by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. This Convention simple with a positive list of accepted bases for recognition and enforcement supplements the 2005 Hague Convention on choice of court agreements. The benefit of the 2019 Convention, however, is marginal, as its scope of application is in many ways limited. In addition, it permits declarations like the “bilatéralisation” in Art. 29 further reducing the Convention to a mere model for bilateral treaties. If at all, the EU should ratify the 2019 Convention only after the US have done so.

The Moçambique Rule in the New Zealand Court of Appeal

Written by Jack Wass, Stout Street Chambers, New Zealand

On 5 December 2019, the New Zealand Court of Appeal released a significant decision on jurisdiction over land in cross-border cases.

In Christie v Foster [2019] NZCA 623, the Court overturned the High Court’s decision that the Moçambique rule (named after British South Africa Co v Companhia de Moçambique [1893] AC 602) required that a dispute over New Zealand land be heard in New Zealand (for a case note on the High Court’s decision, see here). The plaintiff sought to reverse her late mother’s decision to sever their joint tenancy, the effect of which was to deprive the plaintiff of the right to inherit her mother’s share by survivorship. The Court found that the in personam exception to the Moçambique rule applied, since the crux of the plaintiff’s claim was a complaint of undue influence against her sister (for procuring their mother to sever the tenancy), and because any claim in rem arising out of the severance was precluded by New Zealand’s rules on indefensibility of title. As a consequence the Court declined jurisdiction and referred the whole case to Ireland, which was otherwise the appropriate forum.

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?