Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts (IPRax) 1/2017: Abstracts


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

H.-P. Mansel/K. Thorn/R. Wagner: European conflict of laws 2016: Brexit ante portas!
The article provides an overview of developments in Brussels in the field of judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters from December 2015 until November 2016. It summarizes current projects and new instruments that are presently making their way through the EU legislative process. It also refers to the laws enacted at the national level in Germany as a result of new European instruments. Furthermore, the authors look at areas of law where the EU has made use of its external competence. They discuss both important decisions and pending cases before the ECJ as well as important decisions from German courts pertaining to the subject matter of the article. In addition, the article also looks at current projects and the latest developments at the Hague Conference of Private International Law.

P. Mankowski: Modern Types of Migration in Private International Law
Migration has become a ubiquitous phenomenon in modern times. Modern immigration law has developed a plethora of possible reactions and has established many different types of migrants. Private international law has to respond to these developments. The decisive watershed is as to whether a migrant has acquired refugee status under the Geneva Refugees Conventions. If so, domicile substitutes for nationality. A mere petition for asylum does not trigger this. But subsidiary protection as an equivalent status introduced by EU asylum law must be placed on equal footing. Where habitual residence is at stake, it does matter whether a residence has been acquired legally or illegally under the auspices of immigration law. Yet for judging whether a habitual residence exists, the extension of permits might be a factor.

C. Mäsch/B. Gausing/M. Peters: Pseudo-foreign Ltd., PLC and LLP: Limited in liability or rather in longevity? – The Brexit’s impact on English corporations having their central administration in Germany
On 23rd of June 2016, the people of the United Kingdom voted in a referendum against the UK staying in the European Union. If, as can be expected, the withdrawal negotiations under Art. 50 of the EU Treaty will not address the issue of pseudo-English corporations operating in the remaining Member States of the EU, the Brexit will have severe consequences for companies incorporated under English law (e.g. a Ltd., PLC or LLP) having their central administrative seat in Germany. No longer protected by the freedom of establishment within the EU (Art. 49, 54 TFEU) these legal entities will be under German PIL and the so-called Sitztheorie subjected to domestic German company law. They will thus be considered simple partnership companies (German GbR or OHG), losing from one day to the next i.a. their limited liability status – an unexpected and unjustified windfall profit for creditors, a severe blow for the company shareholders. In this paper it will be argued that the outcome can and indeed should be rectified by resorting to the legal rationale of Art. 7 para 2 EGBGB (Introductory Act to the German Civil Code). This provision preserves the legal capacity of a natural person irrespectively of whether a change in the applicable law stipulates otherwise. Extending that concept to legal entities will create a “grace period” with a fixed duration of three years during which the English law continues to apply to a “German” Ltd., PLC or LLP, giving the shareholders time to decide whether to transform or re-establish their company.

L. Rademacher: Codification of the Private International Law of Agency – On the Draft Bill Submitted by the Federal Ministry of Justice
Based on a resolution adopted by the German Council for Private International Law, the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection has submitted a bill to amend the Introductory Act to the German Civil Code (EGBGB) in the to date uncodified area of agency in private international law. This paper provides an overview of the proposed Art. 8 EGBGB and identifies questions of interpretation as well as remaining gaps. The draft provision applies to agents who were authorized by the principal, i.e. neither to statutory agents nor to representatives under company law. The proposal strengthens party autonomy by allowing a choice of law. Absent a choice of law, the applicable law is determined by objective criteria depending on the type of agent. The respective connecting factors, such as the agent’s or principal’s habitual residence, require perceptibility for the third party. If these requirements are not met, the applicable law residually is determined by the identifiable place of the agent’s acts or by the principal’s habitual residence. For the most part, the proposal can be characterized as a restatement of previous case law and academic writing.

H. Roth: Rule and exceptions regarding the review of the European Order of Payment in exceptional cases according to art.20 par. 2 of Reg. (EC) 1896/2006
According to Art. 20 para. 2 of Reg. (EC) 1896/2006, the European Order of Payment can be reviewed in exceptional cases. This additional legal remedy is only applicable in exceptional cases such as collusion or other malicious use of process. It is not sufficient that the defendant would have been able to detect misrepresentations by the claimant.

M. Pika/M.-P. Weller: Private Divorces and European Private International Law
Whilst substantive German family law requires a divorce to be declared in court, the instant case addresses the effect of a private divorce previously undertaken in Latakia (Arabic Republic of Syria) under Syrian law. Although, from a German perspective, the Syrian Sharia Court’s holding has been merely declaratory, the European Court of Justice considered its effect before German courts to be a matter of recognition. Accordingly, it rejected the admissibility of the questions referred to the Court concerning the Rome III Regulation. This ruling indicates the unexpected albeit preferable obiter dictum that the Brussels II bis Regulation applies on declaratory decisions concerning private divorces issued by Member States’ authorities. Subsequently, the Higher Regional Court Munich initiated a further, almost identical preliminary ruling concerning the Rome III Regulation. However, the key difference is that it now considered the Regulation to be adopted into national law.

A. Spickhoff:
Fraudulent Inducements to Contract in the System of Jurisdiction – Classification of (contractual or legal) basis of claims and accessory jurisdiction
Manipulation of mileage and concealment of accidental damage belong to the classics of car law and indicate a fraud. But is it possible to qualify a fraudulent misrepresentation in this context as a question of tort with the meaning of art. 7 no. 2 Brussels I Regulation (recast)? German courts deny that with respect to decisions of the European Court of Justice. The author criticizes this rejection.

K. Siehr: In the Labyrinth of European Private International Law. Recognition and Enforcement of a Foreign Decision on Parental Responsibility without Appointment of a Guardian of the Child Abroad
A Hungarian woman and a German man got married. In 2010 a child was born. Two years later the marriage broke down and divorce proceedings were instituted by the wife in Hungary. The couple signed an agreement according to which the child should live with the mother and the father had visitation rights until the final divorce decree had been handed down and the right of custody had to be determined by the court. The father wrongfully retained the child in Germany after having exercised his visitation rights. The mother turned to a court in Hungary which, by provisional measures, decided that rights of custody should be exclusively exercised by the mother and the father had to return the child to Hungary. German courts of three instances recognized and enforced the Hungarian decree to return the child according to Art. 23 and 31 (2) Brussels IIbis-Regulation. The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) as the final instance decided that the Hungarian court had jurisdiction under Art. 8–14 Brussels IIbis-Regulation and did not apply national remedies under Art. 20 Brussels IIbis-Regulation. In German law, the hearing of the child was neither necessary nor possible and therefore the Hungarian return order did not violate German public policy under Art. 23 (a) or (b) Brussels IIbis-Regulation.

H. Dörner:
Better too late than never – The classification of § 1371 Sect. 1 German Civil Code as relating to matrimonial property in German and European Private International Law
After more than 40 years of discussion the German Federal Supreme Court finally (and rightly so) has classified § 1371 Sect. 1 of the German Civil Code as relating to matrimonial property. However, the judgment came too late as the European Succession Regulation No 650/2012 OJ 2012 L 201/07 started to apply on 17 August 2015 thus reopening the question of classification in a new context. The author argues that a matrimonial property classification of § 1371 Sect. 1 German Civil Code under European rules is still appropriate. He discusses two problems of assimilation resulting from such a classification considering how the instrument of assimilation has to be handled after the regulation came into force. Furthermore, he points out that a matrimonial property classification creates a set of new problems which have to be solved in the near future (e.g. documentation of the surviving spouse’s share in the European Certificate of Succession, application of different matrimonial property regimes depending of the Member state in question).

H. Buxbaum: RICO’s Extraterritorial Application: RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community
In 2000, the European Community filed a lawsuit against RJR Nabisco (RJR) in U.S. federal court, alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). After more than fifteen years and a number of intermediate judicial decisions, the litigation came to its likely close in 2016 with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community. The Court held that RICO’s private cause of action does not extend to claims based on injuries suffered outside the United States, denying the European Community any recovery. The case was the third in recent years in which the Supreme Court applied the “presumption against extraterritoriality,” a tool of statutory interpretation, to determine the geographic reach of a U.S. federal law. Together, these opinions have effected a shift in the Court’s jurisprudence toward more expansive application of the presumption – a shift whose effect is to constrain quite significantly the application of U.S. regulatory law in cross-border cases. The Court’s opinion in RJR proceeds in two parts. The first addresses the geographic scope of RICO’s substantive provisions, analyzing whether the statute’s prohibition of certain forms of conduct applies to acts occurring outside the United States. The second addresses the private cause of action created by the statute, asking whether it permits a plaintiff to recover compensation for injury suffered outside the United States. After beginning with a brief overview of the lawsuit, this essay discusses each of these parts in turn.

T. Lutzi: Special Jurisdiction in Matters Relating to Individual Contracts of Employment and Tort for Cases of Unlawful Enticement of Customers
A claim brought against two former employees, who had allegedly misappropriated customer data of the claimant, and against a competitor, who had allegedly used said data to entice some of the claimant’s customers, provided the Austrian Oberster Gerichtshof with an opportunity to interpret the rules on special jurisdiction for matters relating to individual contracts of employment in Art. 18–21 of the Brussels I Regulation (Art. 20–23 of the recast) and for matters relating to tort in Art. 5 No. 3 of the Brussels I Regulation (Art. 7 (2) of the recast). Regarding the former, the court defined the scope of Art. 18–21 by applying the formula developed by the European Court of Justice in Brogsitter concerning the distinction between Art. 5 No. 1 and 3 (Art. 7 (1) and (2) of the recast); regarding the latter, the court allowed the claim to be brought at the claimant’s seat as this was the place where their capacity to do business was impaired. Both decisions should be welcomed.