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Mayela Celis

The American Association of Private International Law (ASADIP) has postponed its annual conference to a later date in 2021, given the current pandemic. The 2021 conference is entitled “Private International Law and Modern Technologies” and will be held on 4-5 November 2021 in Washington DC (USA). The venues of the conference will be Georgetown University and the Organization of American States (OAS). Blockchain technology and its interrelation with PIL features prominently in the general topics to be discussed. For more information, click here.

The issue 38/1 2020 of the Netherlands Journal of Private International Law (NIPR – Nederlands Internationaal Privaatrecht) has just been published. This issue of the NIPR is available here. It includes an Editorial and the following three articles (with abstracts) devoted to the new Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters, concluded on 2 July 2019 (not yet in force see here):

  1. Towards a global Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters, by Hans van Loon

The Organization of American States (OAS) has announced that it is launching a weekly virtual forum entitled “Inter-American law in times of pandemic”.  It begins on Monday 11 May at 11:00 am (EDT, local time in Washington, D.C.).  The first session “Challenges to Inter-American Law” will be held in Spanish, with no simultaneous interpretation. Registration is free but space is limited. The agenda is available here.

As announced, “the topics to be discussed in relation to the impact of the pandemic in the Americas will include: the challenges to Inter-American law; the importance of access to public information; protection of privacy and personal data; the fight against corruption; legal cooperation against cyber-crime; food security as a specific challenge; the difficulties for private international law; among others.”

Thanks to the entering into force of the Dutch Collective Redress of Mass Damages Act (Wet afwikkeling massaschade in collectieve actie, WAMCA) on 1 January 2020, there has been an increase in prospective litigation against Volkswagen in the Netherlands and other countries in Europe involving the Volkswagen emissions scandal (also known as Dieselgate). We have previously reported on this law here and also on ongoing litigation against Volkswagen here (CJEU) and here (UK).

One of the institutes / organisations taking advantage of this opportunity is the Diesel Emissions Justice Foundation (DEJF), which was founded in the Netherlands, and which is seeking to be the exclusive representative in a collective redress action against Volkswagen. The DEJF is currently acting in the Netherlands, Belgium and France and has recently extended its activities to the rest of Europe provided that certain conditions are fulfilled (e.g. customers have not yet been compensated – one cannot be compensated twice and has to choose one representative – see more information here).

Yesterday the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) announced the publication of the Guide to Good Practice on the Use of Video-Link under the 1970 Evidence Convention. It is available in both English and French.

Needless to say that this publication comes in very handy in times of COVID-19 as borders are closed and travel is hampered. Hopefully, it will encourage Contracting States and everyone involved in cross-border litigation to make further use of videoconference in the taking of evidence abroad.

See our previous post here for some quick thoughts on the Guide. And in this regard, see pages 46 to 49 of the Guide. See also its Glossary; I include two main concepts below:

Written by Mayela Celis

It is undeniable that there is an increasing interaction between human rights and private international law (and other areas of law). This of course adds an additional layer of complexity to private international law cases, whether we like it or not. Indeed, States can be sanctioned if they do not fulfill specific criteria specified by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Importantly, the European Convention on Human Rights has been considered to be an instrument of European public order (ordre public), to which 47 States are currently parties.

The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) has announced that the Guide to Good Practice under the Child Abduction Convention: Part VI – Article 13(1)(b) is now available in both English and French.

Article 13(1)(b) of the HCCH Child Abduction Convention sets out: “Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding Article, the judicial or administrative authority of the requested State is not bound to order the return of the child if the person, institution or other body which opposes its return establishes that – b)   there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation.”

Yesterday (4 March 2020) Viet Nam acceded to the HCCH Evidence Convention and the Philippines acceded to the HCCH Service Convention.  Ukraine signed the HCCH Judgments Convention.

The HCCH Evidence Convention will enter into force for Viet Nam on 3 May 2020. Pursuant to article 39 of the Evidence Convention, the accession will have effect only as regards the relations between Viet Nam and such Contracting States as will have declared their acceptance of the accession. Accordingly, this is a semi-open Convention similar to the HCCH Child Abduction Convention.

In the absence of any objection pursuant to its article 28, the HCCH Service Convention will enter into force for the Philippines on 1 October 2020. No objection has ever been made under the Service Convention (so far).

Yesterday (4 March 2020) Viet Nam acceded to the HCCH Evidence Convention and the Philippines acceded to the HCCH Service Convention.  Ukraine signed the HCCH Judgments Convention.

The HCCH Evidence Convention will enter into force for Viet Nam on 3 May 2020. Pursuant to article 39 of the Evidence Convention, the accession will have effect only as regards the relations between Viet Nam and such Contracting States as will have declared their acceptance of the accession. Accordingly, this is a semi-open Convention similar to the HCCH Child Abduction Convention.

In the absence of any objection pursuant to its article 28, the HCCH Service Convention will enter into force for the Philippines on 1 October 2020. No objection has ever been made under the Service Convention (so far).

Today (25 February 2020), the US Supreme Court delivered its Opinion in the case Monasky v. Taglieri. This decision is available here.

Two of the main takeaways are:

  • A child’s habitual residence depends on the totality of the circumstances specific to the case, not on categorical requirements such as an actual agreement between the parents.
  • A first-instance habitual-residence determination is subject to deferential appellate review for clear error.

This would appear to be in line with the case law of other Contracting Parties. We expect to post a more detailed comment shortly. In the meantime, see our previous posts here –  #1, #2 and #3.