Latest Issue of “Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts” (4/2012)


Recently, the July/August issue of the German law journal “Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts” (IPRax) was published.

  • Eva-Maria Kieninger: “Das auf die Forderungsabtretung anzuwendende Recht im Licht der BIICL-Studie” – the English abstract reads as follows:

In the Rome I Reg., the question of the law applicable to priority conflicts arising from the assignment or subrogation of claims has deliberately been left open (see Art. 27 (2) Rome I Reg.). As a first step towards a future solution, the EU-Commission has requested the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) to prepare an empirical and legal study and to elaborate options for a legislative solution. The article presents the study and partly criticises its proposals. The introduction of a restricted choice of law seems overly complex and may lead to unforeseeable results, so that the rather limited addition of flexibility seems to be outweighed by its drawbacks. The alternatively suggested applicability of the law governing the claim goes not far enough in its exemptions of bulk assignments whereas the last proposal, putting forward the law of the assignor’s domicile is accompanied by exemptions which are not elaborated with the necessary precision and possibly too broad. The article welcomes, however, the BIICL’s proposal to extend any future rule on priority conflicts in Art. 14 Rome I Reg. to all proprietary relationships including that between assignor and assignee.

  • Peter Mankowski: “Zessionsgrundstatut v. Recht des Zedentensitzes – Ergänzende Überlegungen zur Anknüpfung der Drittwirkung von Zessionen” – the English abstract reads as follows:

 The proprietary aspects erga omnes of the assignment of debts have not been dealt with by Art. 14 Rome I Regulation. They are a topic of constant debate which appears to have come to some stalemate in recent times, though. But there still are some aspects and issues which deserve closer inspection than they have attracted yet, in particular  the interfaces with the European Insolvency Regulation and the UN Assignment Convention.

  •  Kilian Bälz: “Zinsverbote und Zinsbeschränkungen im internationalen Privatrecht” – the English abstract reads as follows:

This article challenges the widely held opinion that provisions prohibiting and restricting interest are mandatory provisions in the sense of Art. 9 Rome I Regulation. According to this opinion, provisions prohibiting and restricting interest at the debtor’s seat may apply also in the case another law has been determined as the proper law of the contract.Prohibitions on taking interest which are based on the Islamic legal tradition, however, demonstrate that it is not appropriate to treat respective restrictions generally as mandatory. Normally, there are far reaching exemptions, so that one cannot speak of a prohibition of interest of general application in Muslim jurisdictions. Against this backdrop it is more than questionable whether the respective provisions are mandatory in the sense of Art. 9 (1) of the Rome I Regulation.

Further, interest rate caps normally are determined in view of a specific currency. From this it follows that under Art. 9 (3) Rome I Regulation interest rate caps can only be recognised in cases where there is a congruence of applicable law and currency. Finally, interest rate caps cannot be recognised where local banks are exempted from the respective restrictions. In the latter case, the interest rate cap merely serves the purpose of protecting the local credit market. As a result, provisions prohibiting or restricting interest can only be recognised as “mandatory provisions” in very exceptional circumstances.

  •   Stefan Arnold: “Entscheidungseinklang und Harmonisierung im internationalen Unterhaltsrecht” – the English abstract reads as follows:

Within a world which becomes smaller and smaller, Private International Law also gains importance with respect to the area of maintenance obligations. Harmonization measures – like the new European rules on the law applicable to maintenance obligations – promise legal certainty here. The new regime established by the Hague Protocol from November 23rd 2007 is not sufficiently coordinated with the European Regulation No. 4/2009 on Maintenance Obligations, however. This paper introduces into the main aspects of the new rules on the law applicable to maintenance obligations and suggests a way to establish better coherence between the Conflict of Laws rules and the procedural possibilities established by the Regulation No. 4/2009.

  •  Kurt Siehr: “Kindesentführung und EuEheVO – Vorfragen und gewöhnlicher Aufenthalt im Europäischen Kollisionsrecht” – the English abstract reads as follows:

 The annotated cases deal with alleged child abductions covered by the Hague Abduction Convention of 1980 and the Brussels II Regulation of 2003. The case McB. of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) had to decide whether an Irish unmarried father of three children had custody rights with respect to his children in order to qualify him to prevent a removal of the children from their home in Ireland and, if removed to England, ask for return to Ireland under the Hague Abduction Convention of 1980 and the Brussels II Regulation of 2003. The ECJ decided very quickly in the PPU-proceedings (procédure préjudicielle d’urgence) and found that at the time of removal the father had no right of custody under Irish law and therefore could not blame the mother of having illegally removed the children to England. This is correct. In the PPU-proceedings the ECJ could not go into details and evaluate Irish law under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention of Human Rights.

In the cases of the ECJ in Mercredi v. Chaffe and of the Austrian Supreme Court of 16 November 2010 the term “habitual residence” was correctly defined and could be applied by the lower  national courts. In Mercredi v. Chaffe the English Court of Appeal finally raised doubts whether there was a wrongful removal of the child from England to the French overseas department La Réunion at all.

  • Francis Limbach: “Nichtberechtigung des Dritten zum Empfang einer der Insolvenzmasse zustehenden Leistung: Zuständigkeit, Qualifikation und Berücksichtigung relevanter Vorfragen” – the English abstract reads as follows:

Upon opening German insolvency proceedings, the insolvency debtor loses the right to dispose of his assets. Thus, holding a claim against another person, the insolvency debtor is legally unable to instruct the latter to pay a third party the sum owed. In such an event, the insolvency administrator may demand recovery of the amount received by the third party on the grounds of Paragraph 816(2) of the German Civil Code. The Higher Regional Court of Hamm had to deal with such a case: It involved an insolvency debtor who had presumably instructed a party with a debt to her to perform not to herself but to her mother who eventually received the payment. The insolvency administrator then filed a claim against the mother to recover the respective sum. As the amount paid might have originated in a contract governed by Portuguese law, the Court had to consider whether the filed action appeared as an “annex procedure” related to an insolvency case, implying an international jurisdiction on the grounds of Article 3(1) of the European Insolvency Regulation. Furthermore, in order to identify the applicable law in this matter, the Court had to determine whether the respective legal relationship was to be qualified as of insolvency or as of general private law. At last, it had to consider relevant preliminary questions regarding the source of the claim filed.

  •  Tobias Helms: “Vereinbarung von Gütertrennung durch Wahl des Güterstandes anlässlich einer Eheschließung auf Mauritius” – the English abstract reads as follows:

In this case the German-based parties (the husband being a German citizen and the wife a Mauritian national) appeared before the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) to contest whether they had validly agreed on the matrimonial property regime of Gütertrennung (separation of goods) when they concluded their marriage in Mauritius. Mauritian law does not provide for a default statutory matrimonial property regime. The engaged couple is instead given a choice between separation of goods and community of goods. The courts of lower instance considered the fact that the couple had chosen separation of goods while concluding their marriage in Mauritius to be irrelevant as the matrimonial property regime in this case is governed by German law according to Art. 15 Sect. 1 EGBGB in connection with Art. 14 Sect. 1 No. 2 EGBGB. However, the Federal Supreme Court correctly disagreed with this assessment and held that the parties had validly agreed to adopt the German Gütertrennung. It was held that the deciding factor was that the spouses had given mutual declarations of their intent to regulate their property regime. This procedure was held to be equivalent to the conclusion of a marriage contract under German law (§ 1408 BGB).

  •  Rolf Wagner: “Vollstreckbarerklärungsverfahren nach der EuGVVO und Erfüllungseinwand – Dogmatik vor Pragmatismus?” – the English abstract reads as follows:

 Article 45 of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 (Brussels I-Regulation) deals with the limits within which the national courts of the State of enforcement may refuse or revoke a declaration of enforceability. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) had to decide whether this provision precludes the court with which an appeal is lodged under Article 43 or Article 44 of that regulation from refusing or revoking the declaration of enforceability on the ground that there had been compliance with the judgement in respect of which the declaration of enforceability was obtained. The article discusses the decision of the ECJ and raises the question whether the German law has to be changed.

  •  Katharina Hilbig-Lugani: “Forderungsübergang als materielle Einwendung im Exequatur- und Vollstreckungsgegenantragsverfahren” – the English abstract reads as follows:

The German Federal Supreme Court’s decision concerns a complaint against a declaration of enforceability pronounced for a Swiss judgement under the Hague Convention of 2 October 1973 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions Relating to Maintenance Obligations and the German execution provisions, contained until 18 June 2011 in the AVAG, now in the new AUG. The case raised the well-discussed questions of whether the court deciding on enforceability could take into account defenses of the debtor based on a modification of the judgement, on partial performance of the maintenance and on reasons to modify the judgement. But it particularly raised the new question of the effect of the legal transfer of the debt enshrined in the judgment to the public authority who has provided the maintenance creditor with subsidiary social security benefits. Convincingly, the Federal Supreme Court decided that this as well qualified as a defense to be taken into account in the exequatur decision (under Section 12 AVAG). As before, the court seems to limit its statements to those defenses which are undisputed or which are based on circumstances having acquired the force of res iudicata. Pursuant to the author, the legal appreciation of the claim’s transfer should be the same as the one provided by the Federal Supreme Court under the new German execution provisions in the AUG and under the maintenance regulation 4/2009.

  •  Andreas Piekenbrock: “Ansprüche gegen den ausländischen Schuldner in der deutschen Partikularinsolvenz”
  •   Eva-Maria Kieninger: “Abtretung im Steuerparadies” – the English abstract reads as follows:

The Austrian Supreme Court has held that the account debtor of a claim in damages cannot rely on provisions subjecting the effectiveness of an assignment to the (prior) consent of the account debtor, if those provisions do not form part of the law governing the assigned claim (art 12 (2) Rome Convention). The case note discusses the possible impact of the decision on the presently debated reform of art 14 Rome I Reg. It suggests that the term “assignability” in art 14 (2) Rome I Reg. should be replaced by a more precise definition of those rules which limit or exclude the assignability of claims in the interest of the debtor.

  • Helen E. Hartnell:  U.S. Court of Appeals Rules on Effect of One Country’s Article 96 Reservation on Oral Contract Governed by the CISG (in English)

 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has decided an important case on Article 96 CISG, which permits a State “whose legislation requires contracts of sale to be concluded in or evidenced by writing” to make a declaration of inapplicability in regard to any CISG provision that disavows a writing requirement for international sales contracts. Only 11 Contracting States have such declarations in effect. In Forestal Guarani S.A. v. Daros International, Inc. (2010), the court addressed the question of how to apply Article 96 to a case involving one party with its place of business in Argentina, which made an Article 96 declaration, and one based in the U.S., which made no such declaration. The court embraced what it called the “majority approach” and held that the Article 96 declaration did not absolutely bar an action to enforce the oral contract. Rather, the court held that Article 96 CISG gives rise to a gap that permits resort to the forum’s private international law rules per Article 7(2), and remanded to the lower court with instructions on how to proceed. If Argentine law governs, then the lower court should examine Argentine domestic law to ascertain the enforceability of the oral contract. However, if U.S. law governs, then the lower court should apply the U.S. domestic law to the issue of enforceability, in lieu of CISG provisions disavowing a writing requirement. The article criticizes the result for its turn to domestic law in the latter situation, and questions the viability of Article 96 declarations by States that do not totally prohibit oral contracts.

  •  Hans Jürgen Sonnenberger: “Deutscher Rat für Internationales Privatrecht – Spezialkommission „Drittwirkung der Forderungsabtretung“
  • Hans Jürgen Sonnenberger: “German Council for Private International Law – Special Committee: “Third-party effects of assignment of claims”