InDret, Extraordinary Issue (April 2017)


Dr. Nuria Bouza Vidal, Professor of Private International Law at University of Barcelona and Pompeu Fabra University, retired in 2015; currently she is a member of the Unidroit Governing Council. As a kind of tribute to a life devoted to Private International Law the Spanish legal e-review InDret ( has just published an extraordinary issue collecting the presentations made at a ceremony held in her honor entitled “Internal, European and International Public Policy”.

The issue contains the following articles:

  • José Carlos FERNÁNDEZ ROZAS, “The Public Policy of Arbitrator in the International Commercial Arbitration” (“El orden público del árbitro en el arbitraje comercial internacional”, pp. 5-69).

English abstract : Party autonomy in international commercial arbitration is the most compelling reason for the contracting parties to enter into arbitration agreement, rather than opting for litigation. However, arbitration functionalities may be hindered by several factors, one of which is arbitrability and public policy. The concept of public policy exists in almost all legal systems. Yet, it is one of the most elusive concepts in law given the contradictory case law and convoluted literature. The scope of public order is more than a mere tool of judicial review, upon completion of the proceedings before the arbitrators. It is manifested throughout the arbitration process which influence the determination of competence of arbitrators, in the substantiation of the arbitration proceedings and in determining the law applicable to the arbitration agreement, leading to a sort of “public order of the arbitrator”. Consequently, the appreciation of public policy does not relate exclusively to the judges. The arbitrators are as competent as the judges to inquire about the content of the underlying public policy of a particular law, regulation or in an arbitration practice.

  • Núria BOUZA VIDAL, “The Safeguard of Public policy in International contracts: Private International Law approach and its adjustment in European law” (“La salvaguarda del orden público en los contratos internacionales: enfoque de derecho internacional privado y su adaptación en el derecho europeo”, p. 70-101).

English abstract: This study analyses the ways to safeguard public policy in international contracts with the purpose to analyze and evaluate its meaning and function in the Private International Law of the Member States of European Union and in the substantive law of the European Union. In the first place, the different tools of Private international law aimed at safeguarding internal and international public policy of states are examined. In second place, the tools of Private international law to safeguard public policy must conform to the primary and secondary legislation of the European Union. These tools cannot restrict the freedom of movements in the internal European Market except for the reasons justified on the ground of public policy or overriding requirements of the public interest. Special attention should be paid to these notions because its meaning are not the same in European Law and in Private International Law. Also, some harmonization European Directives contains provisions about their geographic scope. Often these provisions are improperly considered overriding mandatory provisions.

  • Juan José ÁLVAREZ RUBIO, “Liability for damage to the marine environment: channels of international procedural action” (“Responsabilidad por daños al medio marino: cauces de actuación procesal internacional”, p. 102-138).

English abstract: This article analyzes the international procedural dimension linked to disputes arising from marine casualties for Oil spillage, and analyzes the interaction between the various regulatory blocks in the presence, and in particular the conventional dimension over domestic legislation and the institutional, from the European legislator. The criminal legal remedy becomes ineffective for the analysis of the complexity inherent in the realization of civil liability and its subjective and quantitative scope, and the international conventions in force establish a system of limitation of liability that is difficult to justify and sustainable today.

  • Estelle GALLANT, “International prenuptial agreements and anticipation of financial consequences of a divorce: which public policy?” (“Contrats nuptiaux internationaux et anticipation des conséquences financières du divorce : ¿quel ordre public?”, p. 139-164).

English abstract: In some jurisdictions the law allows spouses not only to regulate their matrimonial property regime by agreement, but also to anticipate the financial consequences of their divorce, either by fixing the amount that such spouses may be allowed to claim to each other, or by ruling out any possibility of claiming any financial compensation. The receipt of a prenuptial agreement governed by a foreign law in a less lenient legal system raises the question of the role of international public policy as far as party autonomy is concerned, especially in a context where Maintenance Regulation and the Hague Protocol seek to balance the parties’ forecast with a form of maintenance justice.

  • Santiago ÁLVAREZ GONZÁLEZ, “Surrogacy and Public Policy (ordre public)” (“Gestación por sustitución y orden público”, pp. 165-200).

English abstract: This paper deals with the role of public policy (ordre public) in light of international surrogacy cases. The author analyzes several judgments held by the supreme courts of Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Switzerland. This analysis shows that, even when faced by a series of common elements, the domestic ordre public remains different in each country. Equivalent situations receive different answers by law. This outcome is due to an also different idea about the ordre public scope, to a different view on the paramount interest of children, to a different understanding of the ECHR’s jurisprudence and, last but not least, to the different possibilities of reconstruction of the family ties that each national law offers. The author concludes that this ordre public exception, linked so far to each national law, will no longer have a preeminent place on the international surrogacy issues, among other reasons, because it is not possible to achieve a satisfactory solution to the wide range of problems around surrogacy from the point of view of a sole national law.

  • Ana QUIÑONES ESCÁMEZ, Surrogacy arrangements do not establish parenthood but a public authority intervention in accordance to law (Recognition method for foreign public acts and Conflict of laws for evidence and private acts)” (“El contrato de gestación por sustitución no determina la filiación sino la intervención de una autoridad pública conforme a ley (Método del reconocimiento para los actos públicos extranjeros y método conflictual para los hechos y los actos jurídicos privados)”, pp. 201-251).

English abstract : The present article focuses on Private International Law issues raised by international surrogacy arrangements. I will examine the resolution methods offered by Private International Law: mandatory rules, conflict of laws and recognition of decisions and legal situations. Attention will be focused on the possibilities offered by the recognition method regarding a parenthood link between a child and the commissioning parents already established by a foreign public authority. Based on the principle that a child’s parenthood cannot be subject to private autonomy, in cases where we are only faced with facts (reproductive practice) and private acts (surrogacy arrangements) the child’s parenthood will not be established yet (conflict of Laws method), in order to serve her best interest. Giving some examples, I will show that solutions offered to international surrogacy arrangements in the USA or the EU are not so different, and that the surrogacy arrangement is not treated as a current arrangement in any other country. Finally, I will make some proposals at both domestic and international levels which, by means of respecting legislative diversity, foresee international limits when citizens from other countries access to this practice abroad. This solution aims at avoiding “limping situations” and guaranteeing that children conceived through surrogacy will not be delivered to unknown foreign citizens. Last but not least, I advocate for controlling relocation strategies of legal and procreative industry at international level, whose clients are recruited at their respective markets.

  • Esther FARNÓS AMORÓS, Public policy and donor anonymity” (“¿Deben los donantes de gametos permanecer en el anonimato?”, pp. 252-273).

English abstract: This article highlights the tension between the anonymity of the donor and the donor conceived individuals’ right to know one’s origins. The study of legal systems that recognize this right spurs us to further examine the hypotheses, quite widespread today, which consider outdated traditional arguments for anonymity. In this regard, the article also shows the different treatment granted to adopted children and donor conceived children by legal systems such as the Spanish one. Beyond the possible conflicting rights of children, donors and parents, arguments provided by anonymity supporters, such as the moral damage resulting from disclosure or the possible link between disclosure and a decrease in the number of donors, should be also taken into account. However, these arguments require absolute empirical evidence, which is not currently conclusive. Last but not least, disclosure of the donor’s identity is consistent with the ever-growing trend to dissociate biological, social and legal spheres of parentage.

  • Mònica VINAIXA MIQUEL, The party autonomy in the new EU Regulations on Matrimonial Property Regimes (2016/1103) and Property consequences of Registered Partnesrships (2016/1104) (“La autonomía de la voluntad en los recientes reglamentos UE en materia de regímenes económicos matrimoniales (2016/1103) y efectos patrimoniales de las uniones registradas (2016/1104)”, pp. 274-314).

English abstract: On June 24, 2016, with the aim of facilitating the citizens and international couples’ life, in particular, in cross-border situations to which they may be exposed, the Council adopted by way of the enhanced cooperation, the Regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of matrimonial property regimes (2016/1103 Regulation) and the Regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions regarding the property consequences of registered partnerships (2016/1104 Regulation). With their approval an important gap in the current EU Private International Law on Family matters have been covered. Both of them are Private International Law instruments through which EU seeks to establish a clear and uniform legal framework on the subject. The new Regulations do not affect the substantive law of the Member States on Matrimonial Property Regimes and Property consequences of Registered Partnerships. The party autonomy has enormous advantages in the field of applicable law, unlike the subsidiary connecting factors applicable in the absence of choice of law by the parties, particularly in procedures about the liquidation of matrimonial/registered partnership property regime as a result of its breakdown or because of the death of one of the partners. As we will see, choice of law is the best connecting factor for the coordination of the different EU Regulations that can be applied in the same procedure, for example, the 1259/2010 Regulation on divorce and legal separation, the 650/2012 Regulation on successions and the 2016/1103 or the 2016/1104 Regulations recently adopted. If the parties choose one law as applicable to the different claim petitions, the competent court will have to apply only one law. The problem is that different Regulations do not contain uniform rules on choice of law. However, this result it is more difficult to be achieved through the objective connecting factors of the different UE Regulations as they are fixed in different periods. While the 1259/2010 and 650/2012 Regulations fix the connecting factors at the end of the couple´s life, the new Regulations fixes them at its beginning (immutability rule). The aim of this contribution is party autonomy, however it is also taken into account the influence of the overriding mandatory provisions (such as certain rules of the primary matrimonial regime) which are applicable irrespective of the law otherwise applicable to the matrimonial or registered partnership property regime under the Regulations, the protection of third party rights as well as the role of the public policy in this field, which particularly operates when the applicable law is that of a third state.

  • Albert FONT I SEGURA, “The delimitation of the public policy reservation and evasion of law in Succession Regulation (EU) 650/2012″ (“La delimitación de la excepción de orden público y del fraude de ley en el Reglamento (UE) 650/2012 en materia sucesoria”, pp. 314-365).

English abstract: The outstanding differences among the Member States on succession matters determine the intended coincidence between forum and ius in Regulation 650/2012. However, the combination of the rules of competition and the conflict rules provided for in the European instrument can sometimes lead to the application of foreign law. Under these circumstances the application of public policy reservation or the evasion of law can be taken which results in the application of lex fori, with the main purpose of ensuring the protection of public order. This contribution, above the limits and shortcomings of Regulation 650/2012, highlights the effective restrictions and potential constraints that can be or may be submitted to national jurisdictions. The author suggests mechanisms for the EUCJ to provide guidelines for interpretation and articulation between the two figures.

  • Jonathan FITCHEN, “Public Policy in Succession Authentic Instruments: Articles 59 and 60 of the European Succession Regulation”, pp. 366-396.

The abstract reads:  This chapter  indicates  the  scope  for  difficulties  in  establishing  the  meaning  of  the  public  policy exceptions  provided  by  Article  59(1)  and  Article  60(3)  of  the  European  Succession  Regulation. Though EU jurisprudence from other EU Regulations  concerning  public  policy  exceptions  for judgments offers some guidance, the lack of jurisprudence concerning the public policy of authentic instruments, diversity among national succession laws and the novelty of Article 59’s obligation of ‘acceptance’ may pose problems  for  authentic  instruments  in  the  Succession  Regulation.  The  high probability  of  the  Succession  Regulation  being  operated  by  non-contentious  probate  practitioners, rather than by the courts more usually empowered by such European Regulations, is also suggested to  potentially  add  to  these  difficulties.  For  those  and  other  reasons  it  is  suggested  that  cases involving the public policy exceptions should be capable of diversion to domestic or European courts for the determination of the public policy points at issue.