Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts (IPRax) 5/2016: Abstracts


The latest issue of the “Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts (IPRax)” features the following articles:

B. Hess: The impacts of the Brexit on European private international and procedural law
This article explores the consequences of the Brexit on European private international and procedural law. Although Article 50 TEU provides for a two year transitional period, the (adverse) consequences will affect the London judicial market immediately. Following this transitional period, the Brussels Ibis Regulation and all EU instruments in their area of law will no longer apply to the United Kingdom. A substitution by the Lugano Convention will be difficult, but the United Kingdom might ratify the Hague Choice of Court Convention and the (future) Hague Judgments Convention. In the course of the two-year period, parties should carefully consider whether choice of courts agreements in favour of London will lose their validity after Brexit. In international company law, United Kingdom companies operating on the Continent should verify whether their legal status will be recognized after the Brexit. In family matters, the legal status of EU (secondary) legislation should be respected even after the Brexit. All in all, European private international law will be affected by the cultural loss of the English law. And the same will apply vice versa to English law.

R. Freitag: Explicit and Implicit Limitations of the Scope of Application of Regulations Rome I and Rome II
Almost ten years after the enactment of Regulation “Rome II” on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations and nine years after the publication in the Official Journal of Regulation “Rome I” on the law applicable to contractual obligations, the fundamental question of the material scope of application of the uniform private international law of the EU remains unanswered: Are the aforementioned regulations limited to contracts in the strict sense of voluntarily incurred obligations (governed by Regulation “Rome I”) and to torts, unjust enrichment, negotiorum gestio and culpa in contrahendo (as defined in Regulation “Rome II”) or are both regulations to be seen as an ensemble forming a comprehensive regime for the law of obligations (with the exception of the matters explicitly mentioned in art. 1 par. (2) of Regulation Rome I and Rome II respectively)? The answer is of practical importance for a significant number of institutions of national substantive law that are characterized by their hybrid nature positioning them between contracts and legal obligations which cannot be qualified as torts, unjust enrichment etc. The aim of the article is to show that despite the fact that an all-encompassing European regime of conflict of laws is highly desirable, the existing Regulations “Rome I” and “Rome II” remain eclectic. They do not allow for a uniform treatment of all relevant institutions of substantive law and namely their rules on mandatory provisions (art. 9 Regulation “Rome I”, art. 16 Regulation “Rome II”) cannot be activated to this end.

K. Thorn/C. Lasthaus: The „CAS-Ruling“ of the German Federal Court of Justice – Carte Blanche for Sports Arbitration?
In its judgement, the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on the legal validity of an arbitration agreement in favour of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) between an athlete and an international sports federation. Even though sports federations constitute a monopoly and as a result, athletes are not free to choose between arbitration and courts of law without losing their status as a professional, the agreement is legally effective according to the BGH, thus precluding the parties from settling their dispute before courts of law. In this legal review, the authors argue that – due to the athletes’ lack of freedom – arbitration agreements in sport can only be considered effective if they lead to a court of arbitration constituting a minimum rule of law. With regards to the CAS and considering the influence of sports federations in the establishment of the CAS’ list of arbitrators, they take the view that the CAS does not fulfil such minimum legal requirements. Furthermore, they criticise the fact that an arbitrator is not required to disclose previous appointments by one of the parties involved in the current arbitration procedure. This way, the right to refuse an arbitrator suffers devaluation. Notwithstanding the fact that the international sporting system requires consistent interpretation and application of sporting rules by an international arbitration court in order to establish equal opportunities among the athletes, this must not be achieved at the expense of the athletes’ constitutional rights. Due to the aforementioned legal deficits, the BGH should have ruled the agreement void.

C. Mayer: Judicial determination of paternity with regard to embryos: characterization, private international law, substantive law
The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf had to decide on a motion to determine the legal paternity of a sperm donor with regard to nine embryos, who are currently deep frozen and stored in a fertility clinic in California. The hasty recourse to the German law of decent by the court overlooks the preceding issue whether assessing, as of when the judicial determination of paternity is possible, is to be qualified as a question of procedure or substantive law and is, thus, to be solved according to the lex fori or lex causae. Furthermore, the court’s considerations concerning the conflict-of-laws provisions, denying the analogous application of Art. 19 par. 1 s. 1 EGBGB (Introductory Act to the German Civil Code), are not convincing, the more so as it left the question unanswered which conflict-of-laws provision decides on the applicable law instead.

K. Siehr: Criminal Responsibility of the Father for Abduction of his own Daughter
A man of Syrian nationality and a woman married in Germany and had a daughter. The couple finally divorced and parental responsibility was given exclusively to the mother. In December 2006 the couple decided to visit the father’s relatives in Syria in order to spend Christmas vacation with them, to detract the daughter from bad influences in Germany and to change the daughter’s name. The daughter felt very uncomfortable in Syria, because she was not allowed to go to school and could not leave her relatives’ home without being accompanied by some elderly person of her relatives. She wanted to go back to Germany, but was not allowed to do so by her father. Her mother tried to enable her to leave Syria with the help of the German embassy, but this could not be realized. The daughter was beaten by her father and the mother was prohibited to have contact with her daughter. After having reached majority age, the daughter managed to go back to Germany, where the mother indicted the father for depriving a minor from the person having exclusive parental responsibility (§ 235 German Criminal Code). The County Court of Koblenz convicted the father of being guilty of dangerous bodily harm (§ 223a German Criminal Code) and of depriving a minor from her mother (§ 235 German Criminal Code). The Federal Court for Civil and Criminal Cases (Bundesgerichtshof = BGH) confirmed this decision and rejected the attorney general’s and the accused’s appeal against it. The Federal Court correctly decided that German criminal law applies, because the person, having exclusive parental responsibility, had her habitual residence in Germany, hence the result of deprivation was also felt in Germany. The Federal Court also correctly held that the private law question of parental responsibility has to be answered by German law, including German private international law.

C.F. Nordmeier: Acceptance and waiver of the succession and their avoidance according to the Introductory Act to the German Civil Code and to Regulation (EU) No. 650/2012
In matters of succession, a renvoi that results in the scission of the estate causes particular problems. The present contribution discusses acceptance and waiver of the succession and their avoidance in a case involving German and Thai law. The law applicable to the formal validity of such declarations is determined by art. 11 of the Introductory Act to the German Civil Code. It covers the question whether the declaration must be made before an authority or a court if this is provided for by the lex successionis without prescribing a review as to its content. In case of the avoidance of the acceptance of the succession based on a mistake about its over-indebtedness, the ignorance of the scission of the estate may serve as a base for voidability. The second part of the present contribution deals with Regulation (EU) No. 650/2012. Art. 13 of the Regulation applies in the case of the scission of the estate even if only a part of the estate is located in a Member State and the declaration at hand does not concern this part. Avoidance and revocation of the declarations mentioned in art. 13 and art. 28 of the Regulation are covered by these norms.

W. Wurmnest: The applicability of the German-Iranian Friendship and Settlement Treaty to inheritance disputes and the role of German public policy
Based on a judgment of the District Court Hamburg-St. Georg, the article discusses the conditions under which the applicable law in succession matters has to be determined in accordance with the German-Iranian Friendship and Settlement Treaty of 1929, which takes precedence over the German conflict rules and those of Regulation (EU) No. 650/2012. The article further elaborates on the scope of the German public policy threshold with regard to the application of Iranian succession law. It is argued that the disinheritance of an heir as a matter of law would be incompatible with German public policy if based on the heir either having a different religion than the testator or having the status of illegitimate child. However, these grounds will be upheld if the discrimination has been specifically approved by the testator.

C. Thole: Discharge under foreign law and German transaction avoidance
The judgment of the Federal Court of Justice deals with the question whether recognition of an automatic discharge obtained by the debtor in an English insolvency proceeding excludes a subsequent non-insolvency action based on German law on fraudulent transfers. The Court rightly negates this question, however, the court’s reasoning is not completely convincing. In particular, the judgment entails a bunch of follow-up questions with respect to the interdependency between a foreign insolvency or restructuring proceeding and German fraudulent transfer law (outside of insolvency proceedings).

F. Ferrari/F. Rosenfeld: Yukos revisited – A case comment on the set-aside decision in Yukos Universal Limited (Isle of Man) et al. v. Russia
In a decision of 20/4/2016, the District Court of The Hague set aside six arbitral awards that had been rendered in the proceedings Yukos Universal Limited (Isle of Man) et. al. against Russia. The arbitral tribunal had ordered Russia to pay compensation for its breach of the Energy Charta Treaty. According to the District Court of The Hague, the arbitral tribunal had erroneously found that the Energy Charta Treaty was provisionally applicable. For this reason, the arbitral tribunal could not base its jurisdiction on the arbitration clause set forth in Art. 26 Energy Charta Treaty. The present case note examines the set-aside decision of the District Court of The Hague as well as its implications for ongoing enforcement proceedings. Various approaches towards the enforceability of annulled arbitral awards will be presented.

P. Mankowski: Embargoes, Foreign Policy in PIL, Respecting Facts: Art. 9 (3) Rome I Regulation in Practice
Internationally mandatory rules of third states are a much discussed topic. But only rarely they produce court cases. Amongst the cases, foreign embargoes provide for the highlights. The USA has graced the world with their shades. Yet the Cour d’appel de Paris makes short shrift with the (then) US embargo against the Iran and simply invokes Art. 9 (3) of the Rome I Regulation – or rather the conclusio a contrario to be drawn from this rule – to such avail. It does not embark upon the intricacies of conflicting foreign policies but sticks with a technical and topical line of argument. Blocking statutes forming part of the law of the forum state explicitly adds the political dimension.

C. Thomale: On the recognition of Ukranian surrogacy-based Certificates of Paternity in Italy
The Italian Supreme Court denied recognition of a Ukrainian birth certificate stipulating intended parents of an alleged surrogacy arrangement as the legal parents of a newborn. The reasoning given by the Court covers fundamental questions regarding the notions of the public policy exception, the superior interest of the child as well as the relationship between surrogacy and adoption. The comment elaborates on those considerations and argues for adoption reform.

M. Zilinsky: The new conflict of laws in the Netherlands: The introduction of Boek 10 BW
On 1/1/2012, the 10th book of the Dutch Civil Code (Boek 10 (Internationaal Privaatrecht) Burgerlijk Wetboek) entered into force in the Netherlands. Herewith the Dutch Civil Code is supplemented by a new part by which the different Dutch Conflict of Laws Acts are replaced and are combined to form one legal instrument. The first aim of this legislative process was the consolidation of the Dutch Conflict of Laws. The second aim was the codification of certain developed in legal practice. This article is not a complete treatise on the Dutch Conflict of Laws. The article intends to give only a short explanation of the new part of the Civil Code.