First Issue of 2021’s Revue Critique de Droit International Privé

The last issue of the Revue critique de droit international privé has been released. It contains several case notes and four articles.

The first article, by Didier Boden (University of Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne), proposes new names and definitions in order to enrich private international law. Pursuant to the author: “Private international law and the other sets of rules of a legal order which touch upon its relations with other legal orders are poorly named and poorly defined”. The article “proposes to remedy that lexical impropriety and that semantic deficiency by presenting a new collection of names and a new collection of definitions”.

More information is available: The National University of Córdoba (Argentina) is organizing several online conferences on 9, 16, 23 and 30 April 2021 (at 5 pm Argentinian time, 10 pm CEST time) – in Spanish

Please click here for a link to the registration page. The Facebook page of the events is available here. We have previously announced this event here.

April 12: Jan L Neels on the African Principles of Commercial Private International Law

New Monthly Workshop: “Private International Law in Africa”On Monday, 12 April 2021, from 14:00 to 15:00 (CET), the Hamburg Max Planck Institute will host the first presentations in a new monthly  “Private International Law in Africa” series, chaired by Justin Monsenepwo, the new head of the Africa desk. Professor Jan L Neels (University of Johannesburg) will be speaking on the topic:

“An Introduction to the African Principles of Commercial Private International Law”

The zoom presentation will be followed by an open discussion. All are welcome. After having registered no later than 9 April 2021 using this link you will receive the login details on Friday afternoon. More information and sign-up here.

The “Private International Law in Africa” series intends to discuss new scholarly work on private international law in Africa and advance solutions on how the current framework of that field can be improved on the continent. In an environment of growing international transactions in both civil and commercial matters, private international law can play a significant role in enhancing legal and judicial security and predictability in Africa.

In May 2021 the next speaker will be Dr. Abubakri Yekini (Lagos State University), who will speak on the topic “Enforceability of Jurisdiction Agreements in Nigeria”.

Emmanuel Gaillard died on April 1

Emmanuel Gaillard Death - Emmanuel Gaillard Attorney Is Dead, Obituary, Cause Of Death, How Did He Die?

Shocking, completely unexpected news: Emmanuel Gaillard, the leading scholar and practitioner of international arbitration and a giant in the field, died on April 1, at age 69. Pierre Mayer calls this “an immense loss;” Jean-Dominique Merchet calls him a “star”. Le Monde du droit collected some further reactions from French colleagues. Some eulogies in English are here and here. The International Chamber of Commerce also published a brief statement, as did the International Academy of Comparative Law. Diego P. Fernández Arroyo and Alexandre Senegacnik have an extensive eulogy on the SciencesPo site that also includes links to further testimonies.

Only two months ago, Gaillard had left  Sherman Sterling, whose international arbitration department he had founded in 1989 and led since then, and founded a spinoff with six other former Shearman Sterling colleagues,  Gaillard Shelbaya Banifatemi. His new law firm, announcing the death, called him “a totem in the world of international arbitration and a source of inspiration for lawyers around the world.” The law firm asks to share memories for a memorial book to be shared with his family and close ones.

Gaillard was well known as a practitioner (his biggest case may have been Yukos, though he had countless others) as well as a scholar (his Hague lectures on the “Legal theory of arbitration”, republished as a book and translated into several languages,, were a crucial step towards a more theoretical understanding of the field.) Most recently, he had been instrumental for OHADA’s decision to let Sherman Sterling draft a new private international law code for the region. The firm’s own statement of that decision is, however, down. The project, if continued, will need to go on without him. RIP.


HCCH Vacancy: (Assistant) Legal Officer

The Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) is seeking a(n) (Assistant) Legal Officer. The successful candidate will begin work in the field of international commercial and financial law and will gradually also be expected to carry out work in other areas, including family law.

Applications should be submitted by Sunday 2 May 2021 (00:00 CEST). For more information, please visit the Recruitment section of the HCCH website.

This post is published by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference of Private International Law (HCCH). 

The HCCH Child Abduction Convention and the grave risk exception: A petition for a writ of certiorari is pending before the US Supreme Court – Golan v. Saada

A petition for a writ of certiorari has been filed before the US Supreme Court in a case concerning the HCCH Child Abduction Convention and the grave risk exception (art. 13(1)(b)). The issue at stake is: Whether, upon finding that there is a grave risk that a return would expose a child to physical or psychological harm (or intolerable situation), a district court is required to consider ameliorative measures (in other words, undertakings) to facilitate the (safe) return of the child. For the exact wording of the petition, see below. 

Please note that US courts often use the terms “ameliorative measures” and “undertakings” interchangeably (as stated in the petition).This petition has been docketed as Golan v. Saada, No. 20-1034. This petition and other documents relating to this case have been distributed for the Conference of today – 1 April 2021.

HCCH Monthly Update: March 2021

Meeting of the Council on General Affairs and Policy

The Council on General Affairs and Policy (CGAP) of the HCCH met online from 1 to 5 March 2021, with over 350 participants. Over the course of five days, HCCH Members reviewed progress made to date and agreed on the work programme for the year ahead. More information is available here.

Several important developments relating to Membership and HCCH Conventions occurred during the meeting:

  • Thailand deposited its instrument of acceptance of the Statute, becoming the 88thMember of the HCCH.
  • El Salvador applied to become a Member of the HCCH. Following a six-month voting period and provided a majority of votes have been cast in its favour, El Salvador will be invited to become a Member by accepting the Statute of the HCCH.

European Commission: Experts’ Group on the Recognition of Parenthood between EU Member States

The European Commission (EC) has issued a call for experts to join an Experts’ Group on the Recognition of Parenthood between the Member States of the European Union (EU).

Families are increasingly mobile as they move and travel between the Member States of the EU. Yet, given the differences in Member States’ substantive and conflict of laws rules on parenthood, families may face obstacles in having the parenthood of their children recognised when crossing borders within the Union.

The EC is preparing a legislative initiative on the recognition of parenthood between the Member States of the European Union. The goal of this initiative is to ensure that children will maintain their rights in cross-border situations, in particular where families travel or move within the Union.

Virtual Workshop on April 6: Burkhard Hess on Comparative Procedural Law and Justice (in German)

On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, the Hamburg Max Planck Institute will host its ninth monthly virtual workshop in private international law at 11:00-12:30. Since January of this year, we are alternating between English and German language. Burkhard Hess (Max Planck Institute Luxemburg for Procedural Law)  will speak, in German, about the topic

„Comparative Procedural Law and Justice – neue Wege in der Prozessrechtsvergleichung
(“Comparative Procedural Law and Justice – New Avenues for Comparative Civil Procedure”

The presentation will be followed by open discussion. All are welcome. More information and sign-up here.
This is the ninth such lecture in the series, after those by Mathias Lehmann in June, Eva-Maria Kieninger in JulyGiesela Rühl in SeptemberAnatol Dutta in OctoberSusanne Gössl in November, Marc-Philippe Weller in DecemberMacjiej Szpunar in January,  Dagmar Coester-Waltjen in February, and Horatia Muir Watt in March. In May we will again have an English language event – stay tuned!
If you want to be invited to these events in the future, please write to

Out now: the Swiss IPRG in English

Information and text provided by Niklaus Meier, co-head of the Private International Law Unit at the Swiss Federal Office of Justice

The Swiss Federal Act on Private International Law (FAPIL), adopted in 1987, has had – and still has – a huge influence throughout the world. It is “possibly the most complete codification of private international law worldwide” (Kadner Graziano, Journal of Private International Law. 2015, vol. 11, no. 3, p. 585: “Codifying European Private International Law: The Swiss Private International Law Act – A Model for a Comprehensive European Private International Law Regulation?”) and has influenced PIL codifications in many countries (Kadner Graziano, p. 589-90).

The global relevance of the Swiss Federal Act on PIL led to numerous translations, testament of its international character. Complete translations have been published by Prof. Andreas Bucher (last updated 2021):; Umbricht attorneys (2017):; Gehri/Walther (2010):; the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce (2nd edition 2004, 1st edition 1989); and Karrer/Arnold/Patocchi (1994): Switzerland’s Private International Law (Schulthess/Kluwer). In addition, chapter 12 on arbitration has been translated by actors active in the field, such as the Swiss Arbitration Association (

Translation is a difficult task: “Mastery of the languages involved is necessary, but not sufficient, particularly where the user of a translation expects a literal translation, the legal systems of the starting languages and target language differ fundamentally and the subject matter is highly abstract.” (Walter König, 11 Mich. J. Int’. L. 1294 (1990), 1295, “Translation of Legal Texts: Three English Versions of the Swiss Federal Statute on Private International Law”). Indeed, a civil law codification usually “contains many legal terms which either do not exist in common law jurisdictions or have different connotations in the case of literal translations”.

In recent years, the importance of English versions of the Swiss legal texts has grown. To give just one example: Article 4.4 of the Swiss-Chinese Free Trade Agreement (page 23) explicitly states (under the heading “transparency”) that “Each Party shall promptly publish on the Internet, and as far as practicable in English, all laws, regulations and rules of general application relevant to trade in goods between China and Switzerland.” It goes without saying that the FAPIL is relevant for international trade.