HCCH Update: COVID-19 and the electronic Apostille Programme (e-APP)

The 1961 Apostille Convention has facilitated the circulation of public documents abroad for almost 60 years. The electronic Apostille Programme (e-APP) has supported the continued operation of the Convention since 2006, facilitating the electronic issuance and verification of millions of Apostilles worldwide. 

The COVID-19 situation may have restricted cross-border mobility, but individuals, families, and companies still need to have their public documents authenticated for use abroad. Current circumstances have seen many authorities and jurisdictions around the world adopt temporary workarounds, with some exploring more permanent legislative and technological solutions. 

The e-APP is no exception. In the last few months alone, Brazil, Bulgaria, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and the United States of America have all implemented new components of the e-APP. This is testament to the success of the programme and the continuing relevance of the Apostille Convention. These developments are particularly significant given the work being conducted ahead of the 12th International Forum on the e-APP and the next meeting of the Special Commission on the practical operation of the Apostille Convention, both of which are tentatively scheduled for 2021. 

Out now: Festschrift for Herbert Kronke on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday: „National, International, Transnational: Harmonischer Dreiklang im Recht“

On the occasion of the 70th birthday of Herbert Kronke, Professor emeritus of the University of Heidelberg, President of the German Institution of Arbitration and Arbitrator (Chairman, Chamber Three) at the Iran US Claims Tribunal at The Hague, Former Secretary-General of UNIDROIT, a large number of friends and colleagues gathered to honour a truly outstanding scholar with essays, edited by Christoph Benicke, Professor at the University of Gießen, Germany, and Stefan Huber, Professor at the University of Tübingen, in an impressive volume of nearly 2000 pages with more than 150 contributions from all over the world, many of them in English – highly recommended to browse through state of the art thinking and research on national, international and transnational law:

ECJ on „civil and commercial matters“ under Article 1 (1) Brussels Ibis Regulation, judgment of 16 July 2020, C-73/19 – Movic

The Court decided that Article 1(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of Brussels Ibis Regulation must be interpreted as meaning that an action where the opposing parties are the authorities of a Member State and businesses established in another Member State, in which those authorities seek, primarily, findings of infringements constituting allegedly unlawful unfair commercial practices and an order for the cessation of such infringements and, as ancillary measures, an order for publicity measures and the imposition of a penalty payment, falls within the scope of the concept of ‘civil and commercial matters’ in that provision.

As AG Spzunar had proposed (see post on CoL), the Court held that

ECJ on international jurisdiction (rebuttal of presumption of the COMI for individuals) under the European Insolvency (Recast) Regulation, judgment of 16 July 2020, C?253/19 – Novo Banco

The Court decided, as had been proposed by AG Szpunar (see our post on the Opinion), that the first and fourth subparagraphs of Article 3(1) of the EIR(Recast) must be interpreted as meaning that the presumption established in that provision for determining international jurisdiction for the purposes of opening insolvency proceedings, according to which the centre of the main interests of an individual not exercising an independent business or professional activity is his or her habitual residence, is not rebutted solely because the only immovable property of that person is located outside the Member State of habitual residence.

New article on Party Autonomy in the Choice of Law under Indian and Australian Private International Law

By Saloni Khanderia (Jindal Global Law School, India) and Sagi Peari (Faculty of Law, University of Western Australia) in the Commonwealth Law Bulletin, available for download here

Rescheduling of the Bonn University / HCCH Conference on the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention: Video Pre-Conference Roundtable 29 October 2020; On-Site Conference 13 and 14 September 2021

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Kindly allow us to inform you about the following decisions we had to take in view of our conference, originally scheduled for 25 and 26 September 2020:

As the University of Bonn does not allow on site events of a larger scale until the end of the Winter Semester 2020/2021 (31 March 2021) in order to avoid any Covid-19 risks and as we are also concerned about the risks you would take while travelling to our place, we decided against an on site event.

Chinese court refuses enforcement of an IFTA Arbitration award

Shawn He reported recently on a Chinese judgment refusing the declaration of enforceability of an arbitral award issued by the Independent Film & Television Alliance Arbitration Court.

The Tianjin Intermediate People’s Court dismissed the application on two grounds: No standing to be sued of the Chinese company, and notification vices.

One point which should be highlighted is the duration of the proceedings: The application was filed on March 2018, and the judgment (in first instance) was rendered on May 2020…


Job Offer at the University of Bayreuth

by Professor Dr Robert Magnus

The chair of civil law III at the Faculty of law and economics of the University of Bayreuth offers a position as a

Doctoral researcher / PhD Student (m/w/d)

which should be filled as soon as possible. The position is limited for a period of two years and is preferably granted for the purpose of preparing a doctoral thesis. The position is part-time (50 % of regular working hours) with the salary and the benefits of a public service position in the state of Bayern, Germany (TV-L E13, 50 %).

Marshall Islands: A Pacific island-country joins the HCCH Service Convention (updated)

On 31 July 2020, the Depositary (i.e. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) notified that the Marshall Islands acceded to the HCCH Service Convention. A six-month period for filing objections has been set to run from the date of the Depositary’s notification until 31 January 2021. In the absence of any objection from an already ratifying State, the Convention will enter into force for the Marshall Islands on 1 February 2021.

So far the Marshall Islands has made no declarations under the treaty (think for example of Articles 8, 10, 15 and 16). Nor has it designated Central Authority. While this can be done at a later date, it is undoubtedly of great importance that the designation of Central Authority be made as soon as possible for the treaty to operate smoothly and avoid potential objections, even if this is only a theoretical possibility as the objection-mechanism has never been used in practice.*

Nagy on collective actions in EU

Recently published paper The Reception of Collective Actions in Europe: Reconstructing the Mental Process of a Legal Transplantation, authored by Csongor István Nagy, Professor at the University of Szeged, is a must read for those studying collective actions in EU. It is intended to identify the differentia specifica of the European collective actions as opposed to those in US, which in itself is not an easy task as there are various models in different Member States. However, the paper elegantly navigates these waters and offers a firm grasp of the history and present state on this increasingly important topic on this side of the Atlantic (you may track the EU developments at the legislative train site). For the rest, you need to read the paper…