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Reform of Singapore’s Foreign Judgment Rules

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On 3rd October, the amendments to the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (“REFJA”) came into force. REFJA is based on the UK Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1933, but in this recent round of amendments has deviated in some significant ways from the 1933 Act. The limitation to judgments from “superior courts” has been removed. Foreign interlocutory orders such as freezing orders and foreign non-money judgments now fall within the scope of REFJA. So too do judicial settlements, which are defined in identical terms to the definition contained in the Choice of Court Agreements Act 2016 (which enacted the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements into Singapore law).

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China is one of few countries that permits the parties to choose the applicable law governing cross-border infringement of intellectual property disputes. Article 50 of the Chinese Law Applicable to Foreign-Related Civil Relations 2010 (Conflicts Act) provides that the parties could choose Chinese law (lex fori) after dispute has arisen to derogate from the default applicable law, i.e. lex loci protectionis, in IP infringement disputes.

This choice of law rule was applied by the Beijing IP Court in its 2017 decision on Xiang Weiren v  Peng Lichong (“Drunken Lotus”), (2015) Jing Zhi Min Zhong Zi 1814. The claimant published his painting “Drunken Lotus” in 2007. In 2014, the defendant exhibited his artwork entitled “Fairy in Lotus” in Mosco and Berlin, which allegedly had infringed the claimant’s copyrights. Although the parties did not enter into an explicit choice of law agreement, both parties submitted their legal arguments based on Chinese Copyright Law, which was deemed an “implied” ex post choice of Chinese law. Beijing IP Court thus applied Chinese law to govern the infringement dispute.

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This post was written by Ms Martina Mantovani, Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg. The author is grateful to her colleague, Ms Adriani Dori, for pointing out the tweet.

On 26th September 2019, Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld announced through her Twitter account the lodging of a question for written answer to the EU Commission, prompting the opening of an investigation (and, eventually, of infringement proceedings) in relation to a commercial use of the European Criminal Record Information System (ECRIS). A cornerstone of judicial cooperation in criminal matters, this network is allegedly being exploited by a commercial company operating on the European market (hereinafter name, for the purposes of this entry, The Company), in order to provide, against payment, a speedy and efficient service to actual or prospective employers, wishing to access the criminal records of current employees or prospect hires.

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The Role of Private International Law Academia in Latin America

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Written by Alexia Pato, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bonn
On 10 September 2019, I had the immense pleasure to attend a Conference on the role of private international law (PIL) academia in Latin America (LATAM), which took place in the fast-paced environment of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law (MPI) in Hamburg. The Conference was organised and chaired by Ralf Michaels and Verónica Ruiz Abou-Nigm. I thank them both for their warm welcome and congratulate them for the success of the Conference, which honours the long-standing PIL tradition in LATAM and encourages collaborative learning beyond borders.

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Legal Aid Reform in the Netherlands: An Update

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

An earlier post reported on the volatile situation of legal aid reform in the Netherlands in which I discussed the plans by Dutch Minister of Legal Protection Sander Dekker for the overhaul of the Dutch system for subsidized legal aid. The Dutch Bar Association is now once again sounding the alarm about the social advocacy. Pro Deo lawyers are paid so little in legal aid that more and more of them consider quitting or already have thrown in the towel. Since 2015, a reported 350 lawyers have already quit and 70% of the remaining lawyers says they consider stopping if the situation doesn’t change.

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From 12 to 14 September 2019, the Journal of Private International Law held its 8th Conference at the University of Munich, perfectly hosted and organized by our Munich-based colleague Anatol Dutta. Nearly 150 colleagues gathered from all over the world, amongst them many of the Conflictoflaws.net editors.

This was the perfect occasion to meet for us for dinner on the first evening. Some of our editors had never met personally before, and all of those present could exchange views and news on PIL as well as on the blog.

The bottom line of the meeting certainly was: onwards and upwards with our blog – it is worth it! The PIL community will have many occasions to get together in the near future, inter alia in Aarhus in May 2020. We will keep you posted!

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written by Tobias Lutzi

Last week’s decision by the CJEU in Case C-172/18 AMS Neve has rightly received a lot of attention from IP lawyers (see the comments by Eleonora Rosati on IPKat; Terence Cassar et al. on Lexology; James Nurton on ipwatchdog.com; see also Geert van Calster on gavclaw.com). As it adds another piece to the puzzle of international jurisdiction for online infringements of IP rights, it also seems suitable for discussion on this blog.

The EU Framework of International Jurisdiction for Online Infringements of IP rights

The rules on international jurisdiction established by EU instruments differ depending on the specific type of IP right in question.

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The HCCH just released a short documentary on the adoption of the 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention.

Shot during the 22nd Diplomatic Session of the HCCH, which took place in June / July 2019, this documentary gives unprecedented insights into the finalisation of the negotiations of this game changing treaty. Follow the delegates during the negotiations and join them at the ceremonial signing of the Convention on 2 July 2019.

This documentary is also a unique opportunity to hear the Secretary General, Dr Christophe Bernasconi; the Chair of the Commission of the Diplomatic Session on the Judgments Convention, David Goddard QC; as well as H. E. Maria Teresa Infante, Ambassador of the Republic of Chile to the Kingdom of the Netherlands; and Professor Elizabeth Pangalangan, University of the Philippines, share first hand their experiences and impressions during the Diplomatic Session, and explain the key elements of the 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention as well as the benefits it will offer.

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A Short History of the Choice-of-Law Clause

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Written by John Coyle, the Reef C. Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law, Associate Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law

The choice-of-law clause is now omnipresent.  A recent study found that these clauses can be found in 75 percent of material agreements executed by large public companies in the United States.  The popularity of such clauses in contemporary practice raises several questions.  When did choice-of-law clauses first appear?  Have they always been popular?  Has the manner in which they are drafted changed over time?  Surprisingly, the existing literature provides few answers.

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The long tentacles of the Helms-Burton Act in Europe

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By Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar LLM(LSE), PhD(Navarra), KIMEP University

 

On 2 September, the First Instance Court number 24 of Palma de Mallorca (Spain) issued an auto (interlocutory decision) staying proceedings commenced against Meliá Hotels International S.A., one of the biggest Spanish hotel chains, on grounds of immunity from jurisdiction, act of state doctrine and lack of international jurisdiction.

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