By the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH)

Register your interest now at, and receive all the latest information about the global conference “HCCH 125 — Ways Forward: Challenges and Opportunities in an Increasingly Connected World”.

This global conference gathers world-leading experts who will discuss the opportunities for, and challenges to, private international law. Through interactive “Davos Style” sessions, participants will not only hear from these experts, but can also participate actively in each session.

The key note speaker Prof Jürgen Basedow, emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, will be joined by a stellar cast of confirmed moderators and speakers, including Sir Lawrence Collins, Lord Collins of Mapesbury; Professor Richard Fentiman; Professor Linda Silberman and many other distinguished authorities, hailing from practice, judiciary and government. The up-to-date list of all experts will be available soon on the website.

The event, which will be held in Hong Kong SAR, China, from 18 -20 April 2018, and is organised by the HCCH with the generous support of the Department of Justice of Hong Kong SAR, will give all participants the unique opportunity to hear from world-leading experts and contribute actively to a discussion of the future of private international law and the evolution of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, which celebrates its 125th Anniversary in 2018.

You can also keep up-to-date with the HCCH in its quasquicentennial year by following the Organisation’s dedicated Facebook ( and LinkedIn ( pages.


Surveys on Functioning Brussels I-bis Regulation

As part of a research on the amendments of the Brussels I-bis Regulation and the functioning in legal practice (financed by an Action Grant of the European Commission), surveys are available.

The research is conducted by the Asser Institute (the Hague), Erasmus School of Law (Rotterdam) and the Leibniz Institute (Amsterdam). The researchers are extremely grateful if you could fill these out or forward these to others that might be interested.

The survey is available in Dutch, English, French and German.

Co-funded by the
Justice Programme (2014-2020)
of the European Union



Former Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), Hans van Loon, has just published an article on the HCCH and a Chinese translation of his inaugural lecture on the global horizon of private international law delivered at the 2015 Session of the Hague Academy:

– Hans van Loon, “At the Cross-roads of Public and Private International Law – The Hague Conference on Private International Law and Its Work”, in Collected Courses of the Xiamen Academy of International Law, Vol. 11, pp. 1-65, (Chia-Jui Cheng, ed.), Brill/Nijhoff, 2017 (available via Brill).


  1. Role and Mission of the Hague Conference on Private International Law
  2. Origin and Development of the Hague Conference
  3. The impact of Contemporary Globalisation
  4. Hague Conventions Promoting Global Trade, Investment and Finance
  5. Hague Conventions Promoting Administrative and Judicial Cooperation
  6. Hague Conventions Promoting Personal Security and Protecting Families in Cross Border Situations
  7. Outlook – (Potential) Significance of the Hague Conference and Its work for the Asia-Pacific Region.

– Chinese translation (by Prof. Zhang Meirong and Prof. Wu Yong) of Hans van Loon’s Inaugural Lecture, “The Global Horizon of Private International Law” given at the 2015 Session of the Hague Academy of International Law, Recueil des Cours, Vol. 380, in Chinese Review of International Law 2017, vol. 6, pp. 2-52, vol. 6), for more information see

Excerpt of table of contents:

Chapter I. The development of private international law against the backdrop of the evolving nation-State

  • A. Origins and early development of private international law
  • B. Birth of the Hague Conference on private international law
  • C. Establishment of the Hague Conference as an international organization – early innovations
  • D. Globalization – its effects on the nation-State

Chapter II. The impact of globalization on the development of private international law

  • A. Rising profile, proliferation of sources, new approaches
  • B. Commerce and trade: party autonomy within limits
  • C. Families and children: direct transnational institutional co-operation and interaction with human rights

Chapter III. Global challenges for private international law on the horizon

  • A. People on the move
  • B. Environment and climate change

Some general conclusions


Japan adopts effects doctrine in antitrust law

For a long time, Japan refused to extend application of its antitrust laws to foreign cartels, even those with an impact on the Japanese market. Following a 1990 Study Group Report recommending adoption of the effects doctrine, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission has increasingly applied Japanese antitrust law extraterritorially, as Marek Martyniszyn reports in a helpful recent article. Now the Japanese Supreme Court has upheld a series of judgments from the Tokyo High Court, thereby effectively adopting the effects doctrine. The doctrine appears to go very far: according to the report, the cartel had reached its price-fixing agreement in Southeast Asia, and affected products had been purchased by Southeast Asian units and subcontractors rather than the Japanese companies themselves.
An earlier article, including more detailed comment on the decision by the Tokyo High Court is Tadashi Shiraishi, Customer Location and the International Reach of National Competition Laws, (2016) 59 Japanese Yearbook of International Law, 202-215 (published 2017) (SSRN). The author of the article was involved in the litigation.


By Emma van Gelder and Alexandre Biard, Erasmus University Rotterdam

(PhD and postdoc researchers ERC project Building EU Civil Justice)

On 13 December 2017, the European Commission published a report on the functioning of the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform for consumer disputes, and the findings of a web-scraping exercise of EU traders’ websites that investigated traders’ compliance with their information obligations vis-à-vis consumers.

In 2013, two complementary and intertwined legislative instruments – the Consumer ADR Directive (Directive 2013/11/EU) and the ODR Regulation (Regulation 524/2013) – were adopted to facilitate the out-of-court resolution of consumer disputes in the EU. Among other things, the Consumer ADR Directive has promoted a comprehensive landscape of high quality ADR bodies operating across the EU, and the ODR Regulation has established an ODR platform that offers consumers and traders a single point of entry for complaints arising out from online sales and services. The ODR platform is operational since 15 February 2016.

Data about claims lodged between 15 February 2016 and 15 February 2017 reveals:

  • 1,9 million individuals visited the ODR platform, proving the considerable level of coverage and uptake of the platform, as well as a high level of awareness among consumers and traders;
  • Consumers submitted more than 24,000 complaints via the ODR platform. Reasons for complaining included problems with the delivery of goods (21%), non-conformity issues (15%) and defective goods (12%). 1/3 of complaints related to cross-border issues;
  • 85 % of cases were automatically closed within 30 days after submission, which is the deadline for consumers and traders to agree on a competent ADR body. A large number of traders ultimately did not follow through using the ODR platform. However, it appears that 40% of consumers were bilaterally contacted by traders to solve their problems outside the scope of the ODR platform. As the European Commission highlights, the ODR platform has thus behavioural effects on traders and ‘consumers’ mere recourse to the ODR platform has a preventive effect on traders that are more inclined to settle the dispute rapidly without taking the complaint to a dispute resolution body through the ODR platform workflow’;
  • 9 % of complaints were not closed by the system, but refused by the trader. For 4% of them, parties both pulled backed before they reached an agreement with the ADR entity;2% of complaints were submitted to an ADR body. In half of these cases, the ADR body refused to deal with the case on procedural grounds (e.g. lack of competence or consumer’s failure to contact the trader first). In the end, only 1% of the cases reached an outcome via an ADR entity.

In parallel, the web-scraping exercise of 20,000 traders’ websites was conducted between 1 June and 15 July 2017. It aimed to investigate traders’ compliance with their information obligations, which include in particular the obligation to provide consumers with an easily accessible electronic link to the ODR platform on their websites, and an email address that consumers may use to submit complaint against them on the ODR platform. Key findings of can be summarized as follows:

  • Only 28% of controlled websites included a link to the ODR platform. Compliance ultimately depended on traders’ size (e.g., 42% of large traders included a link vs. 14% of small traders), location (e.g., 66% of online traders located in Germany provided a link vs. 1% in Latvia), and sectors (e.g., 54% in the insurances sector vs. 15% of ‘online reservations of offline leisure’);
  • 85% of investigated traders provided an email address;
  • Accessibility to the ODR link appears still limited: for 82% of websites, the link to the ODR platform was included in the Terms & Conditions, which for consumers might be difficult to retrieve considering the risk of information overload.

The EU Commission now intends to take actions to solve the identified issues. In particular, it will cooperate with national authorities to solve technical issues, and maximize the use of the platform with the view to strengthening its contribution to the development of the Digital Single Market.


By Stephan Walter, Research Fellow at the Research Center for Transnational Commercial Dispute Resolution (TCDR), EBS Law School, Wiesbaden, Germany.

In light of the success of the first German conference for young PIL scholars, held in April 2017 in Bonn (see the recent announcement of the conference volume as well as the conference report), we would like to continue the academic and personal exchange with a second conference. It will take place on 4 and 5 April 2019 at the University of Würzburg (Germany). The key note will be given by Professor Jürgen Basedow (emeritus director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law).

The conference theme will be

“Private International Law between Tradition and Innovation”
– German title: “IPR zwischen Tradition und Innovation” –

Today, anyone working on questions of private international law finds an area of law that is highly differentiated, shaped by theory, and characterized by a complex network of legal sources. It is up to young scholars in particular to question these structures, mechanisms and methods, which have been consolidated in over a hundred years of academic discourse and legal evolution. New political, social, and technological developments also provide an opportunity to take a fresh look at established approaches and possibly outdated solutions. In short, the relationship between tradition and innovation in private international law requires close scrutiny.

Against this backdrop, we are inviting contributions that address the tension inherent in the conference theme, that question dated rules and methodological approaches, or that engage with new problems and challenges for PIL, such as mass migration, digitization, gender identities or modern forms of family. For this purpose, we understand PIL in a broad sense that includes questions of conflict of laws, international civil procedure, arbitration and uniform law.

Papers that are selected for presentation will be published in a conference volume by Mohr Siebeck. Presentations should take about 30 minutes and ideally be in German. The call for papers will be published in spring 2018.

Questions may be directed to For further information, please visit


edited by Susanne Lilian Gössl, in Gemeinschaft m. Rafael Harnos, Leonhard Hübner, Malte Kramme, Tobias Lutzi, Michael Florian Müller, Caroline Sophie Rupp, Johannes Ungerer

More information at:

The first German conference for Young Scholars of Private International Law, which was held at the University of Bonn in spring 2017, provides the topical content for this volume. The articles are dedicated to the various possibilities and aspects of this interaction between private international law and politics as well as to the advantages and disadvantages of this interplay. “Traditional” policy instruments of private international and international procedural law are discussed, such as the public policy exception and international mandatory rules (loi de police). The focus is on topics such as human rights violations, immission and data protection, and international economic sanctions. Furthermore, more “modern” tendencies, such as the use of private international law by the EU and the European Court of Justice, are also discussed.

The content is in German, but abstracts are provided in English here:

“Presumed dead but still kicking” – does this also apply to traditional Private International Law?
Dagmar Coester-Waltjen

The opening address defines the concept of “traditional” private international law. Subsequently, it alludes to different possibilities politics have and had to influence several aspects of this area of law. Even the “classic” conflict of laws approach based on Savigny and others was never free from political and other substantive values, as seen in the discussion about international mandatory law and the use of the public policy exception. Moreover, the paper reviews past actual or presumable “revolutions” of traditional private international law, especially the so-called “conflicts revolution” in the US and, lately, the European Union. The author is critical with the term “revolution”, as many aspects of said “revolutions” should better be regarded as a shy “reform” and further development of aspects already part of the traditional private international law. Finally, the paper concludes with an outlook on present or future challenges, such as questions of globalisation and mobility of enterprises and persons, technical innovations and the delocalisation and diversification of connecting factors.

Politics Behind the “ordre public transnational” (Focus ICC Arbitral Tribunal)
Iina Tornberg

This paper examines transnational public policy as a conflict of laws phenomenon in international commercial arbitration beyond the legal framework of nation-state centered private international law. Taking account of the fact that overriding mandatory rules and public policy rules can be considered as general instruments of private international law to pursue political goals, this paper analyzes the policies according to which international arbitrators accept them as transnational ordre public. The focus is on institutional arbitration of the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) International Court of Arbitration. ICC cases that involve transnational and/or international public policy are discussed.

Between Unleashed Arbitral Tribunals and European Harmonisation: The Rome I Regulation and Arbitration
Masud Ulfat

According to prevailing legal opinion, the European Union exempts the qualitatively and quantitatively highly significant field of commercial arbitration from its harmonisation efforts. Free from the constraints that the Rome I Regulation prescribes, arbitral tribunals are supposed to be only subject to the will of the parties when determining the applicable law. This finding is surprising given the express goals of the Rome I Regulation, namely the furtherance of legal certainty in the internal market and the enforcement of mandatory rules, in particular mandatory consumer protection laws. In light of these aims, the prevailing opinion’s liberal stance on the applicability of the Rome I Regulation in arbitral proceedings seems at least counterintuitive, which is why the article reassesses whether arbitral tribunals are truly as unbound as prevailing doctrine holds. In doing so, apart from analysing the Rome I Regulation with a view to its genesis and its position within the wider framework of EU law, the article will pay particular attention to the policy considerations underlying the Rome I Regulation.

The Applicable Law in Arbitration Proceedings – A responsio
Reinmar Wolff

Sect. 1051 German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) concisely determines the rules under which the arbitral tribunal shall decide on substance. The article discusses two unwritten limits to the law thus defined that are often postulated, namely the Rome I Regulation and transnational public policy. The Rome I Regulation does not apply in arbitral proceedings since it depends on the chosen dispute resolution mechanism if and which law applies. The law explicitly allows for arbitral decisions on the basis of non-state regulations or even ex aequo et bono. It thereby demonstrates that arbitration is not comprehensively bound by law. There are no gaps in protection, and be it only because the arbitral award is subject to a public policy examination before enforcement. Consistent application throughout the Union would be out of reach for the Rome I Regulation in any event if for no other reason than the fact that it is superseded by the European Convention in arbitral proceedings. Similarly, transnational public policy – which is little selective – does not restrict the applicable law in arbitral proceedings, as the implication would otherwise be that the arbitral tribunal is being called upon to defend something like the international trade order by applying transnational public policy. The party agreement, as the only source of the arbitral tribunal’s power, is no good for this purpose. The arbitral tribunal is rather no more required to test the applicable law for public policy violations under sect. 1051 ZPO than the state court has to test its lex fori. Sufficient protection is again accomplished by the subsequent review of the arbitral award for public policy violation on the recognition level. In contrast to current political tendencies, arbitration ultimately requires more courage to be free, including when determining the applicable law.

How Does the ECJ Constitutionalize the European PIL and International Civil Procedure? Tendencies and Consequences
Dominik Düsterhaus

Politics and law naturally coincide in the deliberations of the highest courts, both at national and international levels. Assessing the relationship of politics and private international law in the EU thus requires us to look at how the Court of Justice of the European Union as the supreme interpreter deals with the matter. In doing so, this contribution portrays three complementary avenues of what may be called the judicial constitutionalisation of EU private international law, i.e. the implementation of principles and values of EU integration by means of a purposive interpretation of the unified private international law rules. It is submitted that, in order to avoid uncertainty such an endeavour should be accompanied by an intensified dialogue with national courts via the preliminary ruling procedure.

Proceedings in a Foreign forum derogatum, Damages in a Domestic forum prorogatum – Fair Balancing of Interests or Unjustified Intrusion into Foreign Sovereignty?
Jennifer Antomo

Parties to international commercial contracts often agree on the exclusive jurisdiction of a certain state’s courts. However, such international choice of court agreements are not always respected by the parties. Remedies, such as anti-suit injunctions, do not always protect the party relying on the agreement from the consequences of being sued in a derogated forum. The article examines its possibility to claim damages for the breach of an international choice of court agreement.

Private International Law and Human Rights – Questions of Conflict of Laws Regarding the Liability for “Infringements of Human Rights”
Friederike Pförtner

The main conflict between private international law (PIL) and the enforcement of human rights through civil litigation consists in the existence of the principle of equality of all the jurisdictions in the world on the one hand and the efforts of some states to create their own human rights due diligence rules for domestic corporations on the other hand. Basically, the principle of equality of jurisdictions has to be strictly defended. Otherwise, PIL is in danger of being excessively used or even misused for policy purposes. However, due to the importance of the state’s duty to protect human rights an exception of the principle of equality of jurisdictions might be indicated either by creating a special conflict of laws’ rule or by using mandatory rules or even if there is no other way by referring to the public policy exception. Thus, the standards for liability of a corporation’s home state can be applied in the particular case concerned. Nevertheless, in the highly controversial issue of transnational violations of human rights the means of PIL mentioned above have to be used very carefully and only in extreme cases.

Cross-Border Immissions in the Context of the Revised Hungarian Regulation for Private International Law
Réka Fuglinszky

This paper has a focus on cross-border nuisances from the perspective of the private international law legislation of an EU Member State with external Community borders. The new Hungarian Act XXVIII of 2017 on the Private International Law from 4 April 2017 gives rise to this essay. The article sketches the crucial questions and tendencies regarding jurisdiction (restriction of the exclusive venue of the forum rei sitae); applicable law (unity between injunctions and damage claims) and the problem of the effects of foreign administrative authorization of industrial complexes from the viewpoint of European and Hungarian PIL.

Long Live the Principle of Territoriality? The Significance of Private International Law for the Guarantee of Effective Data Protection
Martina Melcher

According to its Article 3, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 applies to the processing of personal data in the context of the activities of an establishment of a controller or a processor in the EU as well as (under certain conditions) to the processing of personal data of data subjects who are in the EU by a controller or a processor not established in the EU. Given that the GDPR contains public and private law, Article 3 must be qualified not only as a rule of public international law, but also as a rule of private international law (PIL). Unfortunately, the PIL nature of Article 3 and its predecessor (Article 4 Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC) is often overlooked, thus (erroneously) limiting the impact of these rules to questions of public law. Besides this relative ignorance, Article 3 GDPR presents further challenges: First, as a special PIL rule it sits uneasily in the context of the general EU PIL Regulations, in particular Rome I and II, and the interaction with these regulations demands further attention. Second, its overly broad scope of application conflicts with the principle of comity. In view of these issues, it might be preferable to incorporate a general (two-sided) PIL rule on data protection into the Rome Regulations. Such a rule could determine the law applicable by reference only to the place where the interests of the data subjects are affected. Concerns regarding potential violations of the EU fundamental right to data protection due to the application of foreign substantive law could be effectively addressed by public policy rules.

Economic Sanctions in Private International Law
Tamás Szabados

Economic sanctions are an instrument of foreign policy. They may, however, affect the legal – first of all contractual – relations between private parties. In such a case, the court or arbitral tribunal seised has to decide whether to give effect to the economic sanction. It is private international law that functions as a ‘filter’ or a ‘valve’ that transmits economic sanctions having a public-law origin to the realm of private law. The uniform application of economic sanctions would be desirable in court proceedings in order to ensure a uniform EU external policy approach and legal certainty for market players. Concerning EU sanctions, uniformity has been created through the application of EU Regulations as part of the law of the forum. Uniformity is, however, missing among the Member States when their courts have to decide whether to give effect to sanctions imposed by third states. When deciding about non-EU sanctions, private law and private international law cannot always exclude foreign-policy arguments.


Recent conflicts developments in New Zealand

With the end of the year fast approaching, here is a quick round-up of news from New Zealand:

  • The New Zealand Parliament recently passed the Private International Law (Choice of Law in Tort) Act 2017. The Act introduces new torts choice of law rules and abolishes the common law rule of double actionability. The Act is closely modelled on the Private International Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 (UK), with some notable exceptions. A copy of the Act is available here (and see here for its legislative history).
  • In Brown v New Zealand Basing Ltd [2017] NZSC 139, the Supreme Court determined whether age discrimination provisions in New Zealand employment legislation applied to Cathay Pacific pilots based in Auckland. The employment contract, expressed to be governed by the law of Hong Kong, provided for a mandatory retirement age of 55. Pursuant to the Employment Relations Ac 2000 (NZ), however, the pilots could not be required to retire until they had reached the age of 65. The pilots brought a personal grievance claim against their employer, a Hong Kong based subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, in reliance on the Act. As many readers will be aware, this is not the first time that the cross-border effect of the airline’s retirement age provisions has been the subject of litigation. In Lawson v Serco Ltd (Crofts) [2006] UKHL 3, [2006] 1 All ER 823, the House of Lords held that the right not to be unfairly dismissed under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (UK) applied to UK-based pilots of Cathay Pacific. But unlike the UK Act, the New Zealand Act does not contain an equivalent to s 204(1), which provides that it is immaterial for the purposes of the Act “whether the law which (apart from this Act) governs any person’s employment is the law of the United Kingdom … or not”. The Court held unanimously that the Act applied to the plaintiffs’ claim. A copy of the judgment is available here.
  • The New Zealand Law Commission has called for submissions on its Issues Paper Dividing Relationship Property – Time for Change? (IP41, 16 October 2017). Part L of the paper deals with cross-border matters affecting relationship property. The paper forms part of the Commission’s review of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.

On 3 and 4 December 2017, the 11th “Luxemburger Expertenforum” on the development of EU law took place at the Court of Justice of the European Union. This forum is a workshop that is organised regularly by the German members of the Court of Justice (including the members of the European Court [formerly of First Instance] and the Advocates General); it is presided by the President of the CJEU, Koen Lenaerts, and attended by non-German members of the Court as well (although the discussions at the meeting are held in German).

This year’s forum was divided into four parts. It started on Sunday evening with a dinner speech by the protestant Bishop of Berlin-Brandenburg, Markus Dröge, who looked back at the 500 year anniversary of the reformation and reflected upon the relationship between the church(es) and the state(s) under domestic and European laws. The latter topic was also the general subject of Monday’s first morning session, which was titled “Constitutional challenges at the workplace”. In this session, which was chaired by Advocate General Juliane Kokott, the tensions between an employee’s right to exercise his or her religious freedom and the employer’s desire for a neutral and harmonious working environment were discussed. Moreover, the speakers looked at the implications of a case pending before the CJEU for the impact of the Anti-Discimination Directives on employees working in hospitals or schools run by churches (C-68/17). The topics were approached from a constitutional perspective by Monika Hermanns, judge at the German Constitutional Court, and Rüdiger Stotz, General Director at the CJEU and a member of the working group on EU law set up by the Conference of European Churches. Inken Gallner, judge at the Federal Labour Court, and Felix Hartmann, professor of labour law at the Free University of Berlin, added both practical and academic views from the perspective of labour law. Matthias Bartke, a social-democratic member of the German parliament, commented both on matters of politics and policy.

The second session was chaired by chamber president Thomas von Danwitz and devoted to a subject dear to readers of our blog: “Mutual trust and mutual recognition – are the structural principles of EU law still valid?”. This question was approached from various angles: Dirk Behrendt, senator of justice of Berlin and a member of the German Green party, gave an overview over Berlin court practice concerning the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. Tim Eicke, a British judge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, looked at the implications of the European Convention on Human Rights for mutual recognition between the EU member states. Harald Dörig. judge at the Federal Administrative Law Court, analysed the principle of mutual trust (or rather the lack thereof) in the field of migration and asylum law. Yvonne Ott, judge at the German Constitutional Court, and Alexandra Jour-Schröder, director for criminal justice at the European Commission, discussed tensions between European law on arrest warrants and domestic constitutional guarantees. After the short speeches, Jan von Hein, professor at the University of Freiburg, opened the discussion with a survey on the current state of play with regard to European civil procedure.

During lunch, Luxembourg’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn, gave a speech on current challenges facing the EU and its member states, in particular with regard to migration politics (you may read the text of his speech here).

The third and final session was chaired by Alfred Dittrich, judge at the European Court, and dealt with the issue of whether and under which conditions national tax exemptions may qualify as prohibited subsidies under the TFEU. The speakers of this panel were Rudolf Mellinghoff, the president of the Federal Tax Court, Johannes Laitenberger, the General Director of the DG Competition, Kirsten Scholl from the German Ministry of Economics, Johanna Hey, professor at the University of Cologne, and Ulrich Soltész, lawyer at Gleiss Lutz in Brussels. Different views on the relationship between EU law on subsidies and domestic laws on taxation gave rise to an open and fruitful discussion.


For those able to read Portuguese, two new books have been recently released, as a result of theses defended earlier this year at the Universities of Coimbra and Lisbon.

English abstracts provided by the Authors read as follows (more info, respectively, here and here):

AFONSO PATRÃO, Freedom of Choice in Mortgage and a Reinforcement of International Cooperation

Abstract: This dissertation concerns the implementation of a European mortgage market, identifying obstacles to its accomplishment and offering solutions to overcome them.

Considering statistical data that indicate national compartmentalisation of mortgage markets (as land security rights are essential for internal credit but, internationally, less than 1% of all international credit involves mortgages), we start by justifying the inclusion of international mortgages within the scope of European Treaties, demonstrating that the European Union objectives include the free movement of land security rights.

Next, we identify obstacles to the acceptance, by lenders, of land security rights on immovable property in other Member States. These barriers, potentially contrary to European law, must be correctly understood in order to arrive at accurate solutions. As such, in Part I, we deal with the mandatory submission of land property rights and land registry to lex situs, analysing its purpose; we demonstrate substantial differences in European mortgage and land registry laws; we scrutinise the execution of a mortgage on a plot situated in another Member State; and we highlight the complexity of setting up a mortgage in a foreign country.

In Part II, we assess the proposals which have so far been offered as solutions. In particular, we discuss the feasibility of unifying or harmonising mortgage laws; the introduction of Eurohypothec as an additional optional legal regime; the securitisation of granted mortgage loans; and the establishment of the country of origin principle. The analysis concludes that standing proposals do not adequately solve the issue at hand.

Solutions are offered in Part III of the dissertation. The first suggestion is to recognise party autonomy in mortgages (conferring the right to choose the applicable law to land security rights), in harmony with the movement of dépeçage of private international law on property rights and with the purpose of European integration. We demonstrate that, provided that adequate precautions are taken, there is no reason for the obligatory application of lex situs.

In addition, we advocate strengthening of international cooperation in the field of mortgage constitution — especially between notaries of the country where the contract is concluded and registrars of the Member State where the plot is located.

These recommendations are designed to be introduced in a European Regulation, considering that they would be a factor in dismissing barriers on the free movement of capital.

JOÃO GOMES DE ALMEIDA, Divorce in Private International Law

Abstract: The cross-border movement of people is an increasingly widespread reality, due mainly to technological progress. Within the European Union this phenomenon is also enhanced by the freedom of movement of persons, goods, services and capital. Nowadays, it is no longer unusual to find couples of different nationalities, couples with one or more common nationalities that habitually reside in a State that is not one of the States of their nationalities and even couples, with or without a common nationality, that do not habitually reside in the same State. And it appears that this trend will only grow stronger in the future. In brief, transnational family relationships – family relationships that are connected to more than one sovereign State – are increasingly common.

Of the various kinds of transnational family relationships, the present dissertation focuses on the transnational divorce. Divorce is the dissolution of marriage. As such, it is a significant event in the lives of the spouses, as it extinguishes the marital bond, terminating the family relationship that arose from marriage. Transnational divorce raises specific questions: in which sovereign State must the applicant initiate the divorce proceedings? Which law applies to a transnational divorce? Is it possible for a foreign judgment on transnational divorce to be recognised and produce its effects in the same way as a domestic judgment? These specific questions are answered, respectively, by the rules on jurisdiction, applicable law and recognition of foreign judgments.

These questions, although different, cannot be considered as totally unrelated. They are interconnected. The specific connections between the rules on jurisdiction, on applicable law and on recognition of foreign judgments on divorce justify a joint analysis, so that one does not lose sight of these connections and is able to avoid incoherent solutions. The present dissertation is a study of the issues raised by the Private International Law aspects of divorce law, from the perspective of Portuguese law.