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A Reform of French Law Inspired by an Inaccurate Interpretation of the EAPO Regulation?

Carlos Santaló Goris, Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Luxembourg, offers an analysis on the recently approved reform of the French Manual on Tax Procedures (“Livre des procédures fiscales”) influenced by Regulation No 655/2014, establishing a European Account Preservation Order (“EAPO Regulation”). The EAPO Regulation and other EU civil procedural instruments are the object of study in the ongoing EFFORTS project, with the financial support of the European Commission. 

FICOBA (“Fichier national des comptes bancaires et assimilés”) is the French national register containing information about all the bank accounts in France. French bailiffs (“huissiers”) can rely on FICOBA to to facilitate the enforcement of an enforceable title or upon a request for information in the context of an EAPO proceeding (Article L151 A of the French Manual on Tax Procedures). In January 2021, the Paris Court of Appeal found discriminatory the fact that creditors could obtain FICOBA information in the context of an EAPO proceeding but not in the context of the equivalent French domestic provisional attachment order, the “saisie conservatoire” (for a more extended analysis of the judgment, see here). While an enforceable title is not a necessary precondition to access FICOBA in the context of an EAPO, under French domestic law it is. Against this background, the French court found that creditors who could apply for an EAPO were in a more advantageous position than those who could not. Consequently, it decided to extend access to FICOBA to creditors without an enforceable title who apply for a saisie conservatoire.

AG Maciej Szpunar on the interpretation of the ESR in relation to cross-border declarations of waiver of succession and on substitution and characterisation, Opinion of 20 January 2022, C-617/20 – T.N. et al. ./. E.G.

Yesterday, AG Maciej Szpunar delivered an Opinion (a French version is available, a German as well, not yet, however, an English one) that is of high relevance both to the practical application of the European Succession Regulation (ESR) as well as to issues  of European choice of law methodology in relation to substitution and characterisation.

The case emerged from a preliminary reference by the German Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) Bremen of 11 November 2020 and involved the following facts:

South African court issues interdict against Shell concerning seismic survey

The High Court of the Eastern Cape in Makhanda (Grahamstown), South Africa, on 28 December 2021 issued an interim interdict to stop Shell from commencing seismic activity off the south-eastern coast of South Africa. The full judgment is available on Saflii.

From a conflict-of-laws perspective, the interdict raises some points of interest.

News

Out now: Zeitschrift für vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft (ZVglRWiss) 120 (2021) No. 4

The most recent issue of the German Journal of Comparative Law (Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft) features the following articles on private international and comparative law:

Jürgen Samtleben: Internationales Privatrecht in Guatemala

Guatemala’s rules on private international law of Guatemala are found in the Law of Judicial Organization of 1989. But conflict-of-law questions are also regulated in other laws. All these legislative texts are based on older laws, since Guatemala has a rich legal tradition on this subject. It is only against the background of this tradition that one can understand the meaning of the laws actually in force. The article discusses the different aspects of Guatemalan private international law, which today is generally based on the principle of domicile. The law of 1989 introduces two innovations which are worth emphasizing: the application of foreign law ex officio and the principle of party autonomy for international contracts.

Nudging in Private International Law: The Design of Connecting Factors in Light of Behavioural Economics

Dr Johannes Ungerer (Lecturer, University of Oxford)

Cross-border disputes are particularly complex due to the challenges involved in understanding and deciding on the applicable law and international jurisdiction. Contrary to this reality, it is commonly assumed that all private parties are capable of rational choices in pursuit of efficiency, which however disregards the fact that humans are not always guided by rationality but can be affected by psychological biases. Acknowledging ‘bounded rationality’ in cross-border cases calls for reconsidering the way private international law determines which law shall apply and which court may hear the case. In particular, it requires analysing connecting factors from this new perspective, thus appreciating the significance of how bounded rationality affects private parties in choosing a law or court or abstaining from choice.

EAPIL founding conference: Aarhus, 2-4 June 2022

As many our readers know the first conference of the European Association of Private International Law (EAPIL), established in late 2019, had to be rescheduled (twice) due to the Corona pandemic. It will now (hopefully) take place from 2-4 June 2022 at the University of Aarhus (Denmark).

The conference will bring together academics and practitioners from all over Europe and provide a unique opportunity to talk and think about European Private International Law in a pan-European fashion. Topics to be discussed will include the effects and the challenges of digitalization, the problems of fragmentation as well as other challenges the discipline is currently facing. For more information please visit the conference website.

Registration is possible here. For questions, please get in touch with the local organizer, Morten M. Fogt (mmf@law.au.dk).

For more information about EAPIL (including about how to join and how to get involved) please visit the Association’s website at https://eapil.org.