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Matthias Weller

Today, the ECJ decided in case C-641/18 –  LG and Others v. Rina SpA, Ente Registro Italiano Navale, on the concepts of ‘civil and commercial matters’ and ‘administrative matters’ under Article 1 Brussels I Regulation.

The case arose from the following facts:

14      LG and Others — relatives of the victims and survivors of the sinking of the Al Salam Boccaccio’98 vessel in the Red Sea on 2 and 3 February 2006, in which more than 1 000 people lost their lives — brought an action before the Tribunale di Genova (District Court, Genoa, Italy) against the Rina companies — ship classification and certification societies — whose seat is in Genoa.

Today, Advocate General Szpunar delivered his Opinion in Case C-253/19 – MH, NI v. OJ, Novo Banco SA. As is generally known, Article 3 of Regulation 2015/848, entitled ‘International jurisdiction’, provides in paragraph 1:

‘The courts of the Member State within the territory of which the centre of the debtor’s main interests is situated shall have jurisdiction to open insolvency proceedings (“main insolvency proceedings”). The centre of main interests shall be the place where the debtor conducts the administration of its interests on a regular basis and which is ascertainable by third parties.

by Marie Elaine Schäfer

The cross-border expansion of EU companies’ economic activities not only leads to a globalised market, but also impacts human rights as well as the environment in countries worldwide. The recent rise of claims against EU companies for the violations committed by their subsidiaries located in third countries is a by-product of that context. With Germany being the world’s third largest importing country, the question of corporate responsibility for harmful events abroad is crucial. The present post provides an overview of the most recent legal developments on that topic.

“National Action Plan” and voluntary principle

The central aspect of Germany’s approach to prevent human rights violations and environmental damages caused by German companies’ foreign subsidiaries is a voluntary – as opposed to binding – principle.

by Nadia Rusinova

The coronavirus will have an enormous impact on how we consume, how we learn, how we work, and how we socialize and communicate. It already significantly impacts the functioning of the justice system – the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements have required courts to be flexible and creative in continuing to carry out essential functions.

Today, AG Szpunar delivered his Opinion on the request for a preliminary ruling from the hof van beroep te Antwerpen (Court of Appeal of Antwerp, Belgium) on the interpretation of civil and commercial matters“ according to Article 1(1) Brussels I bis Regulation.

The question was (para. 1o):

“Is an action concerning a claim aimed at determining and stopping unlawful market practices and/or commercial practices towards consumers, instituted by the Belgian Government in respect of Dutch companies which from the Netherlands, via websites, focus on a mainly Belgian clientele for the resale of tickets for events taking place in Belgium, (…) a civil or commercial matter within the meaning of Article 1(1) of [Regulation 1215/2012], and can a judicial decision in such a case, for that reason, fall within the scope of that regulation?“

A most useful new research handbook in European Law is on the table – highly recommended! The publisher’s blurb reads:

„The Brussels Ibis Regulation is the magna carta for jurisdiction and the free circulation of judgments in civil and commercial matters in the EU, and forms a cornerstone of the internal market. This timely Research Handbook addresses the cutting edges of the regime, in particular its place within the overall system of EU law and its adaptations in response to specific kinds of lawsuits or the needs of particular industries.

Child abduction in times of corona

By Nadia Rusinova

Currently large increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to be reported from the EU/EEA countries and the UK. In addition, in recent weeks, the European all-cause mortality monitoring system showed increases above the expected rate in Belgium, France, Italy, Malta, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

It is not unreasonable to predict that COVID-19 will be used increasingly as a justification in law for issuing non-return order by the Court in international child abduction proceedings, return being seen as a “grave risk” for the child and raised as an assertion under Article 13(b) of the Hague Convention.

Dear CoL Readers,

While we are all deeply concerned about the still growing dimensions of the coronavirus pandemic, we did not want to give up working on the programme of our conference.

Thanks to the HCCH, the Bonn PIL colleagues and our distinguished speakers, there is now a fantastic programme we would like to bring to your attention in this post (see below).

Yesterday, the High Court of London decided two preliminary issues in a large group action, certified as a Group Litigation Order (sub no. 105), brought by about 91,000 owners or lessees of VW, Audi, Skoda and SEAT cars. The claim is brought, against the manufacturers of the affected vehicles (VW, Audi, Skoda, and SEAT), against the relevant VW financial services arm and against a variety of authorised UK based VW dealers. Article 8 no. 1 of the Brussels Ibis Regulation will have been of relevance to the foreign ones amongst the defendants. No express explanations are offered how claimants eligible for the UK group litigation are determined – presumably it depends on where the car was bought.

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Dear CoL Readers,

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