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Written by Anna Wysocka-Bar, Senior Lecturer at Jagiellonian University (Poland)

On 2 December 2019 Supreme Administrative Court of Poland (Naczelny S?d Administracyjny) adopted a resolution of seven judges (signature: II OPS 1/19), in which it stated that it is not possible – due to public policy – to transcribe into the domestic register of civil status a foreign birth certificate indicating two persons of the same sex as parents. The Ombudsman joined arguing that the refusal of transcription infringes the child’s right to nationality and identity, and as a result may lead to infringement of the right to protection of health, the right to education, the right to personal security and the right to free movement and choice of place of residence. Interestingly, the Ombudsman for Children and public prosecutor suggested non-transcription. The background of the case concerns a child whose birth certificate indicated two women of Polish nationality as parents, a biological mother and her partner to a de facto union. Parents applied for such transcription in order to apply subsequently for the issuance of the passport for the child. 

This note addresses the question whether there is a common law basis for the recognition of foreign declarations of parentage. It appears that this issue has not received much attention in common law jurisdictions, but it was the subject of a relatively recent Privy Council decision (C v C [2019] UKPC 40).

The issue arises where a foreign court or judicial authority has previously determined that a person is, or is not, a child’s parent, and the question of parentage then resurfaces in the forum (for example, in the context of parentage proceedings or maintenance proceedings). If there is no basis for recognition of the foreign declaration, the forum court will have to consider the issue de novo (usually by applying the law of the forum: see, eg, Status of Children Act 1969 (NZ)). This would increase the risk of “limping” parent-child relationships (that is, relationships that are recognised in some countries but not in others) – a risk that is especially problematic in the context of children born by way of surrogacy or assisted human reproduction technology.

Can a foreign marriage be recognised in the UK if the State where it was celebrated is not recognised as a State? This was the question which the High Court of Justice (Family Division) had to answer in MM v NA: [2020] EWHC 93 (Fam).

The Court distilled two questions: was the marriage validly celebrated and if so, can it be recognised in the UK? If the answers to both questions were affirmative, the court could give a declaratory order; if one of them were negative, the parties could celebrate a new marriage in the UK.

Brexit & Lugano

Written by Jonathan Fitchen

The UK’s intention to attempt to accede to the 2007 Lugano Convention is apparently proceeding apace. Though the events leading up to Friday 31st January, when the UK left the EU,  rather overshadowed this fact, the UK Government had already announced that its intention to accede by a posting on 28th January 2020 that may be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/support-for-the-uks-intent-to-accede-to-the-lugano-convention-2007   As will be remembered, the 2007 Lugano Convention is open to non-EU third States if the consent of all the existing Convention parties can be first secured. The UK Gov posting records that the UK has secured statements in support of it joining the 2007 Convention from the Swiss, the Norwegians and Iceland. So now all that is required is to secure the consent of the EU to this course of action. Assuming that such consent can be secured, the UK Gov posting records that it is the intention of the UK Government to accede to the 2007 Convention at the end of the transition period (currently scheduled / assumed for 23.00 GMT on 31st December 2020).

Brexit: No need to stop all the clocks.

Written by Jonathan Fitchen.

‘The time has come’; a common enough phrase which may, depending on the reader’s mood and temperament, be attributed variously to Lewis Carroll’s discursive Walrus, to Richard Wagner’s villainous Klingsor, or to the conclusion of Victor Hugo’s epigrammatic comment      to the effect that nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come. In the present context however ‘the time has come’ refers more prosaically to another step in the process described as ‘Brexit’ by which the UK continues to disentangle itself from the EU.

by José Antonio Briceño Laborí, Professor of Private International Law, Universidad Central de Venezuela y Universidad Católica Andrés Bello

In 2019 the Venezuelan Private International Law (hereinafter “PIL”) academic community made clear that, despite all the difficulties, it remains active and has the energy to expand its activities and undertake new challenges.

As an example of this we have, firstly, the different events in which our professors have participated and the diversity of topics developed by them, among which the following stand out:

  • XI Latin American Arbitration Conference, Asunción, Paraguay, May 2019 (Luis Ernesto Rodríguez – How is tecnology impacting on arbitration?)

As reported previously, the ECtHR was asked by the French Cour de cassation for an advisory opinion on the legal parentage of children born through surrogacy arrangement. In its answer, the Court considered that the right to respect for private life (article 8 of ECHR) requires States parties to provide a possibility of recognition of the child’s legal relationship with the intended mother. However, according to the Court, a State is not required, in order to achieve such recognition, to register the child’s birth certificate in its civil status registers. It also declared that adoption can serve as a means of recognizing the parent-child relationship.

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.