The latest issue of the „Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts (IPRax)“ features the following articles:
A. Stein: The 2019 Hague Judgments Convention – All’s Well that Ends Well?
The Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, which was concluded in July 2019, holds the potential of facilitating the resolution of cross-border conflicts by enabling, accelerating and reducing the cost of the recognition and enforcement of judgments abroad although a number of areas have been excluded from scope. As the academic discussion on the merits of this instrument unfolds and the EU considers the benefits of ratification, this contribution by the EU’s lead negotiator at the Diplomatic Conference presents an overview of the general architecture of the Convention and sheds some light on the individual issues that gave rise to the most intense discussion at the Diplomatic Conference.
C. North: The 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention: A Common Law Perspective
The recent conclusion of the long-awaited 2019 HCCH Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters (the “Judgments Convention”) provides an opportunity for States to reconsider existing regimes for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments under national law. This paper considers the potential benefits of the Judgments Convention from a common law perspective. It does so by considering the existing regime for recognition and enforcement at common law, and providing an overview of the objectives, structure and a number of key provisions of the Judgments Convention. It then highlights some of the potential benefits of the Convention for certain common law (and other) jurisdictions.
P.-A. Brand: Recognition and enforcement of decisions in administrative law matters
Whereas for civil and commercial matters there are extensive rules of international and European civil procedural law on mutual legal assistance and in particular on the recognition and enforcement of civil court decisions, there is no similar number of regulations on legal assistance and for the international enforcement of administrative court decisions. The same applies to the recognition of foreign administrative acts. This article deals with the existing rules, in particular with regard to decisions in administrative matters, and concludes that the current system of enforcement assistance in the enforcement of administrative decisions should be adapted to the existing systems of recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.
B. Hess: About missing legal knowledge of German lawyers and courts
This article addresses a decision rendered by the Landgericht Düsseldorf in which the court declined to enforce, under the Brussels Ibis Regulation, a provisional measure issued by a Greek court. Erroneously, in its decision the Landgericht held that applications for refusal of enforcement of foreign decisions (article 49 Brussels Ibis Regulation) are to be lodged with the Landgericht itself. Since the party lodged its application with the Landgericht on the last day of
the time limit, the Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf eventually held that the application was untimely as it was not lodged with the Oberlandesgericht, instead. The Oberlandesgericht refused to restore the status quo ante because the information about the competent court had been manifestly erroneous, whereas the lawyer is expected to be familiar with articles 49 (2) and 75 lit b) of the Brussels Ibis Regulation. This article argues that jurisdiction over applications for refusal of enforcement is not easily apparent from the European and German legal provisions and that the legal literature addresses the issue inconsistently. This results in a certain degree of uncertainty as concerns jurisdiction over such applications, making it difficult to establish cases of possibly manifestly incorrect applications.
C.F. Nordmeier: Abuse of a power of attorney granted by a spouse – The exclusion of matrimonial property regimes, the place of occurrence of the damage under Brussels Ibis and the escape clause of art. 4 (3) Rome II
The article deals with the abuse of power of attorney by spouses on the basis of a decision of the Higher Regional Court of Nuremberg. The spouses were both German citizens, the last common habitual residence was in France. After the failure of the marriage, the wife had transferred money from a German bank account of the husband under abusive use of a power of attorney granted to her. The husband sues for repayment. Such an action does not fall within the scope of the exception of matrimonial property regimes under art. 1 (2) (a) Brussels Ibis Regulation. For the purpose of determining the place where the damage occurred (Art. 7 No. 2 Brussels Ibis Regulation), a distinction can be made between cases of manipulation and cases of error. In the event of manipulation, the bank account will give jurisdiction under Art. 7 No. 2 Brussels Ibis Regulation. Determining the law applicable by Art. 4 (3) (2) Rome II Regulation, consideration must be given not only to the statute of marriage effect, but also to the statute of power of attorney. Particular restraint in the application of Art. 4 (3) (2) Rome II Regulation is indicated if the legal relationship to which the non-contractual obligation is to be accessory is not determined by conflict-of-law rules unified on European Union level.
P.F. Schlosser: Governing law provision in the main contract – valid also for the arbitration provision therein?
Both rulings are shortsighted by extending the law, chosen by the parties for the main contract, to the arbitration provision therein. The New York Convention had good reasons for favoring, in the absence of a contractual provision specifically directed to the arbitration provision, the law governing the arbitration at the arbitrators’ seat. For that law the interests of the parties are much more predominant than for their substantive agreements.
F. Rieländer: Choice-of-law clauses in pre-formulated fiduciary contracts for holding shares: Consolidation of the test of unfairness regarding choice-of-law clauses under Art. 3(1) Directive 93/13/EEC
In its judgment, C-272/18, the European Court of Justice dealt with three conflict-of-laws issues. Firstly, it held that the contractual issues arising from fiduciary relationships concerning limited partnership interests are included within the scope of the Rome I Regulation. While these contracts are not covered by the exemption set forth in Art. 1(2)(f) Rome I Regulation, the Court, unfortunately, missed an opportunity to lay down well-defined criteria for determining the types of civil law fiduciary relationships which may be considered functionally equivalent to common law trusts for the purposes of Art. 1(2)(h) Rome I Regulation. Secondly, the Court established that Art. 6(4)(a) Rome I Regulation must be given a strict interpretation in light of its wording and purpose in relation to the requirement “to be supplied to the consumer exclusively in a country other than that in which he has his habitual residence”. Accordingly, this exception is applicable only if the consumer needs to leave the country in which he has his habitual residence for the purpose of enjoying the benefits of the services. Thirdly, the Court re-affirmed that choice-of-law clauses in pre-formulated consumer contracts are subject to a test of unfairness under Art. 3(1) Directive 93/13/EEC. Since the material scope of this Directive is held to apply to choice-of-law clauses, such a clause may be considered as unfair if it misleads the consumer as far as the laws applicable to the contract is concerned.
U. Bergquist: Does a European Certificate of Succession have to be valid not only at the point of application to the Land Registry, but also at the point of completion of the registration in the Land Register?
When it comes to the evidentiary effect of European Certificates of Successions, there are different opinions on whether a certified copy of the certificate has to be valid at the time of the completion of a registration in the Land register. The Kammergericht of Berlin recently ruled that a certified copy loses its evidentiary effect in accordance with art. 69 (2) and (5) of the European Succession Regulation (No. 650/2012) after expiry of the (six-month) validity period, even if the applicant has no influence on the duration of the registration procedure. This contribution presents the different arguments and concludes – in accordance with the Kammergericht – that not the date of submission of the application but the date of completion of the registration has to be decisive for the required proof.
D. Looschelders: International and Local Jurisdiction for Claims under Prospectus Liability
The judgment by the Austrian Supreme Court of Justice (Oberster Gerichtshof, OGH) deals with international and local jurisdiction for a claim under prospectus liability. It is mainly concerned with the determination of the place in which the harmful event occurred, as stated in Art. 5(3) of Regulation No 44/2001. Specifying the damage location can pose significant problems due to the fact that prospectus liability compensates pure economic loss. The OGH had stayed the proceedings in order to make a reference to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for a preliminary ruling on several questions related to this issue. However, the decision by the ECJ left many details unsettled. This article identifies the criteria developed by the OGH in light of the case. The author agrees with the OGH to designate the damage location in this particular case as the injured party’s place of residence. Nevertheless, he points out the difficulties of this approach in cases where not all investment and damage specific circumstances point to the investor’s country of residence.
W.Voß: U.S.-style Judicial Assistance – Discovery of Foreign Evidence from Foreign Respondents for Use in Foreign Proceedings
In the future, will German litigants in German court proceedings have to hand over to the opposing party evidence located on German territory based on American court orders? In general, under German law, the responsibility to gather information and to clarify the facts of the case lies with the party alleging the respective facts, while third parties can only be forced to produce documents in exceptional circumstances. However, the possibility to obtain judicial assistance under the American Rule 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a) increasingly threatens to circumvent these narrow provisions on document production in transatlantic relations. For judicial assistance under this Federal statute provides parties to foreign or international proceedings with access to pre-trial discovery under U.S. law, if the person from whom discovery is sought “resides or is found” in the American court district. Over the years, the statute has been given increasingly broad applicability – a trend that is now being continued by the recent ruling of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals discussed in this article. In this decision, the Court addressed two long-disputed issues: First, it had to decide on whether the application of 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a) is limited to a person who actually “resides or is found” in the relevant district or whether the statute could be read more broadly to include all those cases in which a court has personal jurisdiction over a person. Second, the case raised the controversial question of whether 28 U.S.C. § 1782 allows for extraterritorial discovery.
M. Jänterä-Jareborg: Sweden: Non-recognition of child marriages concluded abroad
Combatting child marriages has been on the Swedish legislative agenda since the early 2000s. Sweden’s previously liberal rules on the recognition of foreign marriages have been revisited in law amendments carried out in 2004, 2014 and 2019, each reform adding new restrictions. The 2019 amendment forbids recognition of any marriage concluded abroad as of 1/1/2019 by a person under the age of 18. (Recognition of marriages concluded before 1/1/2019 follows the previously adopted rules.) The marriage is invalid in Sweden directly by force of the new Swedish rules on non-recognition. It is irrelevant whether the parties had any ties to Sweden at the time of the marriage or the lapse of time. The aim is to signal to the world community total dissociation with the harmful practice of child marriages. Exceptionally, however, once both parties are of age, the rule of nonrecognition may be set aside, if called upon for “extraordinary reasons”. No special procedure applies. It is up to each competent authority to decide on the validity of the marriage, independently of any other authority’s previous decision. While access to this “escape clause” from the rule of non-recognition mitigates the harshness of the system, it makes the outcome unpredictable. As a result, the parties’ relationship may come to qualify as marriage in one context but not in another. Sweden’s Legislative Council advised strongly against the reform, as contrary to the aim of protecting the vulnerable, and in conflict with the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as European Union law. Regrettably, the government and Parliament took no notice of this criticism in substance.
I. Tekdogan-Bahçivanci: Recent Turkish Cases on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Family Law Judgements: An Analysis within the Context of the ECHR
In a number of recent cases, the Turkish Supreme Court changed its previous jurisprudence, rediscovered the ECHR in the meaning of private international law and adopted a fundamental-rights oriented approach on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgements in family matters, i.e. custody and guardianship. This article aims to examine this shift together with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, to find a basis for this shift by analysing Turkey’s obligation to comply with the ECHR and to identify one of the problematic issues of Turkish private international law where the same approach should be adopted: namely recognition and/or enforcement of foreign judgements relating to non-marital forms of cohabitation.