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Written by Hetal Doshi & Sankalp Udgata

Combining law, computer science and finance in unprecedented ways, “Smart Contract” is the latest addition to the unending list of Internet of Things. Unlike a traditional contract, which only lays out the terms of agreement for subsequent execution, a smart contract autonomously executes some or all of the terms of the agreement as it are usually based on Block-chain. It has the potential to reshape our understanding of contract and technology law. The shift from the code naïve to the code-savvy, has surfaced problems in dispute resolution beyond the existing legal perception which this article aims at analysing and resolving.

Working of the Smart Contract

Written by Sankalp Udgata & Hetal Doshi, National Law University (NUSRL), Ranchi

The choice of arbitration as the default system of resolution of commercial disputes, which was initially restricted to the foreign parties is now being reciprocated by even the Indian parties, thus setting the stage for India being a global hub for commercial arbitration. Surprising as it is, commercial agreements worth billions have but a succinct recording of a seat of arbitration. Sloppy as they are, these poorly drafted dispute resolution clauses open the doors to a tsunami of litigation which simply intervene and delay the entire resolution process thereby defeating the very virtue arbitrations proclaim to instil.

The Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is issuing ‘force majeure certificates’, like some of their homologues in other countries, as discussed earlier in this blog. Although this practice has existed in Russia since 1993, the number of requests for the certificates has recently increased. The requests come not only from Russian companies but also from foreign entities. While the increase is understandable in these times of the coronavirus pandemic, under Russian law, the ‘force majeure certificate’ can (only) form a part of evidence in possible future disputes, as its impact on the outcome of the dispute is ultimately defined by the (Russian or foreign) courts or arbitration tribunals.

Child abduction in times of corona

By Nadia Rusinova

Currently large increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to be reported from the EU/EEA countries and the UK. In addition, in recent weeks, the European all-cause mortality monitoring system showed increases above the expected rate in Belgium, France, Italy, Malta, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

It is not unreasonable to predict that COVID-19 will be used increasingly as a justification in law for issuing non-return order by the Court in international child abduction proceedings, return being seen as a “grave risk” for the child and raised as an assertion under Article 13(b) of the Hague Convention.

Written by Elijah Granet

In a recent decision of the Family Division of the English and Welsh High Court—VB v TR (Re RR) [2020] EWFC  28, Mr Justice Mostyn highlighted a lacuna in the protection of children from abduction under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (‘the Convention’).  As a result of what Mr Justice Mostyn (at para 7) refers to  as a ‘colonial anachronism’, unconsented removals of children from the British overseas territory of Bermuda to the UK proper fall outside the remit of either the convention or domestic law.


Choice of Australian Aboriginal Customary Law

The relationship between the conflict of laws and constitutional law is close in many legal systems, and Australia is no exception. Leading Australian conflict of laws cases, including, for example, John Pfeiffer Pty Ltd v Rogerson (2000) 203 CLR 503, which adopted a lex loci delicti rule for intra-Australian torts, are premised on public law concepts essential to our federation. These cases illustrate how the conflict of laws bleeds into other disciplines.

Love v Commonwealth [2020] HCA 3 is a recent decision of the High Court of Australia that highlights the breadth and blurry edges of our discipline. Most legal commentators would characterise the case in terms of constitutional law and migration law. The Court considered a strange question: can an Aboriginal Australian be an ‘alien’?

Competition Law and COVID 19

Written by Sophie Hunter

With more than 200 countries affected to date, the current crisis presents far reaching implications for competition law and policy on a global scale. This crisis is affecting developed and developing countries alike, especially by putting young competition authorities under a stress test of the resilience of their competition rules.  As the pandemic of COVID19 spreads to every parts of the world, most recently the African continent, competition authorities are looking at whether relaxing their competition rules to allow for cooperation between key actors of the health sector and other essential economic sectors, like the airline industry. However, full or partial relaxation of competition rules may have adverse effects on industries, business and consumers by resulting in anti-competitive practices such as price fixing, excessive pricing and collusion between competitors.

Access to justice in times of corona

Access to justice in times of corona

When COVID-19 makes the case for greater digitalisation of justice*

Written by Emma van Gelder, Xandra Kramer and Erlis Themeli, with thanks to Elisabetta Silvestri (University of Pavia), Georgia Antonopoulou, Alexandre Biard and Betül Kas (Erasmus University Rotterdam, ERC-Co project ‘Building EU civil justice: challenges of procedural innovations – bridging access to justice’)

* posted on 7 April, text updated on 8 April

from Raphael de Barros Fritz, Hamburg

The assessment of a court’s jurisdiction based on Art. 7 (2) of the Brussels Ibis Regulation in cases involving exclusively financial damages has been a continuous challenge (cf., e.g., ECJ, 12.09.2018, Case C-304/17 (Löber); ECJ, 16.06.2016, Case C-12/15 (Universal); ECJ, 28.01.2015, Case C-375/13 (Kolassa)). Against this background, the Advocate General’s opinion in the Volkswagen emissions scandal case (Campos Sánchez-Bordona, Opinion of Advocate General delivered on 02.04.2020, Case C-343/19 (Volkswagen)) sets forth some important guidelines when determining a court’s jurisdiction pursuant to Art. 7 (2) of the Brussels Ibis Regulation.

A free webinar to hear experts of MK Family Law (Washington) and Grotius Chambers (The Hague) discuss pertinent issues relating to international child abduction in times of COVID-19. 

Date: 8 April 2020
Time: 3 pm (CET Amsterdam)

COVID-19 has a significant impact on all aspects of our lives. Since the WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic, numerous States have implemented travel bans in an attempt to contain its spread. Moreover, States have closed courts and adjourned or even cancelled hearings.

Such restrictions cause direct impacts on transnational families. They may hinder, in particular, the prompt return of children in cases of international child abduction. Parents may encounter difficulties in commencing proceedings before the competent authorities, as well as complying with an agreement or return order.