One of the points of interest in the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Haaretz.com v Goldhar (available here) concerns the appropriateness of the plaintiff’s undertaking to pay the travel and accommodation costs of the defendant’s witnesses, located in Israel, to come to the trial in Ontario. The defendant had raised the issue of the residence of its witnesses as a factor pointing to Israel being the more appropriate forum. The plaintiff, one presumes, made a strategic decision to counter this factor by giving the undertaking.
The decision to stay proceedings under the doctrine of forum non conveniens is discretionary, which in part means that appeal courts should be reluctant to reverse the decisions of motions judges on the issue. It comes as some surprise, therefore, that the Supreme Court of Canada has disagreed with not only the motions judge but also the Court of Appeal for Ontario and overturned two earlier decisions denying a stay. In Haaretz.com v Goldhar (available here) the court held (in a 6-3 decision) that the plaintiff’s libel proceedings in Ontario should be stayed because Israel is the clearly more appropriate forum.
Open your eyes, we may be next. Or maybe we are already there? Case C- 191/18, KN v Minister for Justice and Equality, is not about PIL. The questions referred to the CJ on March 16, actually relate to the European Arrest warrant (and Brexit). However, PIL decisions are mirroring the same concerns.
When the French Government announced in February this year plans to launch an “English” Commercial court in Paris, eyebrows were raised and, it is fair to say, an element of skepticism expressed in the common law world as to whether such a development would really prove to be a serious competitor to the Commercial Courts on Fetter Lane in London.
Written by Guillaume Croisant, Université Libre de Bruxelles
In October 2017, as already reported in a previous post, the Belgian Government announced its intention to set up a specialised English-speaking court with jurisdiction over international commercial disputes, the Brussels International Business Court (“BIBC”). An update version of the text has finally been submitted to Parliament on 15 May 2018, after the Government’s initial draft faced criticisms from the High Council of Justice (relating to the BIBC’s independence and impartiality, its source of funding and its impact on the ordinary courts) and was subject to the review of the Conseil d’Etat.
Written by Dr. Jie (Jeanne) Huang, Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales Faculty of Law
The recent U.S. Supreme Court case, Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd, concerns what weight should be given to the Chinese government’s submission of Chinese law. On Page 58 of the trial transcript, Justices Kagan and Ginsburg asked how about other countries dealing with formal submissions from the Chinese government. There are two examples.
France is a state. France.com, by contrast, is a domain name, and it was, until recently, owned not by the French state but instead by a Californian company, France.com, Inc. That conflict is now being litigated in a fascinating dispute reminiscent of the early days of the internet.
Written by Bastian Brunk, research assistant and doctoral student at the Institute for Comparative and Private International Law at the University of Freiburg (Germany)
On April 24, the Supreme Court of the United States released its decision in Jesner v Arab Bank (available here; see also the pre-decision analysis by Hannah Dittmers linked here and first thoughts after the decision of Amy Howe here) and, in a 5:4 majority vote, shut the door that it had left ajar in its Kiobel decision. Both cases are concerned with the question whether private corporations may be sued under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS).
Two recent judgments of European courts have highlighted the difficulty in finding the right balance between the cultural assimilation of Muslim immigrants demanded by national laws on citizenship and the necessary degree of tolerance towards foreign laws and customs. In a widely reported decision of 11 April 2018, the French Council of State (Conseil d’Etat) ruled that a naturalisation of an Algerian-born woman could be revoked because she had refused to shake hands with a male public servant during the naturalisation ceremony.
The Supreme Court of Canada, in Office of the Children’s Lawyer v Balev (available here), has evolved the law in Canada on the meaning of a child’s habitual residence under Article 3 of the Hague Convention. The Convention deals with the return of children wrongfully removed from the jurisdiction of their habitual residence.