Call for applications for the selection of members of the Expert Group on Modernisation of Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Matters (Revision of Regulation (EC) 1393/2007 on service of documents and Regulation (EC) 1206/2001 on taking of evidence)

The information below has been kindly provided by the European Commission

The European Commission (Directorate General for Justice and Consumers) is establishing a new expert group which shall assist the Commission in the revision and the preparation of a possible initiative with regard to Regulation (EC) 1393/2007 on service of documents and Regulation (EC) 1206/2001 on taking of evidence. The group shall be composed of 20 members appointed in a personal capacity who are experts in the area of cross-border judicial co-operation in civil and commercial matters. The call for members is open until 27 November 2017. More information is available here and here.

St Petersburg International Legal Forum Private Law Prize 2018

Entries for the St Petersburg International Legal Forum Private Law Prize will close on 15 November 2017. The first prize, to the value of 10 million rubles, will be awarded to the author of the best research monograph or author(s) of a research article published on any topic of private law, private international law or comparative law. There is no word or page limit for monographs and articles. (Textbooks and academic commentaries are not eligible.)

Candidates’ monographs or articles must be nominated by one of the 81 universities and institutions listed on pages 8-11 of the competition guidelines, which are accessible here:

The prize’s selection committee consists of experts many of whom are well-known to the readers of this blog, including Jürgen Basedow, Marta Pertegás, Michael Bonell, Roy Goode and Takeshi Kojima, to name a few.

The prize will be awarded at the VIII St Petersburg International Legal Forum in May 2018.

Further details on the conditions of the prize and the selection committee are available here:

Conference Report: 9th Transnational Commercial Law Teachers‘ Meeting at Radboud University, Nijmegen

On 2 and 3 November 2017, the Radboud University at Nijmegen hosted the 9th Transnational Commercial Law Teachers’ Meeting. In these meetings, teachers of transnational commercial law from all over the world gather to discuss fundamental issues and core instruments of unified or harmonized commercial law as laid down in the “bible” of transnational commercial law by Roy Goode, Herbert Kronke and Ewan McKendrick (see here), but also current trends and teaching methods.

This time, the meeting focused on “Transnational Commercial Law and Natural Resources”. After the opening by the President of the University Daniel Wigboldus, Herbert Kronke (Iran-US Claims Tribunal, emeritus of Heidelberg University, former Secretary-General of UNIDROIT) and Thomas Keijser (Radboud University), in a first panel chaired by Charles Mooney, University of Pennsylvania Law School, several speakers addressed the latest developments of UNIDROIT’s Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and its latest Protocol on Mining, Agriculture and Construction Equipment (MAC Protocol) as well as further potential areas of application such as e.g. renewable energy machinery but also with a view to other types of cross-border secured transactions (Howard Rosen, Rail Working Group, Benjamin von Bodungen, German Graduate School of Management and Law, Teresa Rodríguez de las Heras Ballell, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Ole Börger, Judge at the Oberlandesgericht at Bremen, Peter Winship, Southern Methodist University School of Law, Louise Gullifer, University of Oxford/Radboud University, Jeffrey Wool, Aviation Working Group, University of Washington School of Law, University of Oxford).

A second panel chaired by Anna Veneziano, Secretary-General of UNIDROIT ad interim, University of Teramo, dealt with UNIDROIT’s projects on contract farming, in particular its Legislative Guide, discussed by Henry Gabriel, Elon School of Law and Bruno Zeller, University of Western Australia.

In the following Athanassios Kaissis (Aristotle University and International Hellenic University of Thessaloniki) shortly presented the concept and the didactics of his LL.M. in Transnational and European Commercial Law, Mediation, Arbitration and Energy Law, and the author of these lines did likewise on the semester abroad program of EBS University in Wiesbaden “EBS Law Term: Transnational Commercial Law”.

Chaired by Herbert Kronke, Hector Tsamis (PhD student of the International Hellenic University), Hannah Buxbaum (Indiana, Maurer School of Law), and Charles Mooney presented legal and regulatory approaches towards sustainable finance and sustainability reporting and securities disclosure regimes. It became clear that sustainability is being more and more supported on all levels including capital markets regulation (financial disclosure requirements) and corporate governance (non-financial accounting standards). The first day closed with an inspiring dinner speech by Roy Goode.

The second day focused on private law in general in respect to responsibilities, liabilities and litigation. On the first panel chaired by Hannah Buxbaum, Hans van Loon (Former Secretary-General of the Hague Conference) presented principles and building blocks for a global legal framework for civil litigation in environmental matters. He referred to international instruments bringing about a shift of paradigm such as e.g. the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development or the Ruggie Principles taken up more and more in strategic litigation such as the lawsuit against RWE in Germany by a Peruvian farmer at the city of Huaraz on the delictual responsibility for contributing to climate change and thus threatening the livelihood of the claimant. This case (see e.g. the report by the NGO Germanwatch) will be decided upon appeal by the Upper Regional Court of Hamm on 13 November 2017, a timely moment during the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn. Jaap Spier (retired Advocate-General in the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, Universities of Amsterdam and Stellenbosch) continued the topic with a view on enterprise principles. Marc Loth (Tilburg University) drew some lessons from the Urgenda case, a Dutch case raising the issue of state liability for climate change (Urgenda Foundation v. The State of the Netherlands, see e.g. here) and Jan van Dunné, Erasmus University Rotterdam, analyzed liability issues in gas and coal mining for damages caused by soil subsidence, earthquake and subsoil water management under Dutch law. Finally, Tedd Moya Mose (PhD student of Queen Mary University of London), presented on international financing of renewable energy.

After a second interlude on didactics by Camilla Anderson (University of Western Australia) and Caslav Pejovic (Kyushu University), Athanassios Kaissis took the chair for the afternoon panel on dispute resolution. Pauline Ernst (Radboud University) and Gerard Meijer (NautaDutilh) presented on experiences from practice on arbitration and energy sector, both commercial and investor-state. Anna Marhold (Tilburg University) reported on dispute resolution mechanisms and the role of the industry in European regulatory agencies for energy. Vesna Lazic (Utrecht University) spoke about the “enforcement” of annulled arbitral awards in light of the Pemex and (one of the several) Yukos cases. Finally, the author of these lines presented on a recent type of cases in environmental litigation in which claimants seek to draw the foreign, in particular African, subsidiaries of European groups of companies into European courts in order not only to get damages but also to get injunctive relief against the subsidiary to stop them from further pollution or to have them taking measures immediately to protect the local population.

The primary example at the moment is Royal Dutch Shell and its Nigerian subsidiary Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd. In the UK, this is the case of Okpabi & Ors v Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Anor, [2017] EWHC 89 (TCC), 26 Jan 2017, appeal pending. Similar case against other UK parents are Lungowe & Ors v Vedanta Resources Plc & Anor, [2016] EWHC 975 (TCC), 27 May 2016, appeal dismissed 13 October 2017, [2017] EWCA Civ 1528, and AAA & Ors v Unilever Plc & Anor, [2017] EWHC 371 (QB), 27 February 2017. For the respective ligitation against Shell in the Netherlands see A.F. Akpan v. Royal Dutch Shell, plc, District Court of the Hague (Rechtbank), 30 January 2013, confirmed on the jurisdictional issues by the Court of Appeal (Gerechtshof) of the Hague, judgment of 17 December 2015). As opposed to most English decisions, the Dutch Court of Appeal signalled a willingness to further develop the applicable Nigerian tort law in light of (the similar) English law on the parent’s duties of care for its subsidiaries towards a liabililty, but the appeal on the merits is still pending. This evolving case law meets with legislative initiatives (e.g. France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, EU in respect to conflict minerals) that seek to establish more clearly a direct delictual liability of the parent company that in turn is the key requisite for establishing “annex” jurisdiction (“forum connexitatis”) under a “real case” or proximity analysis for the foreign subsidiary located in third states to which Article 8 no. 1 Brussels Ibis Regulation does not apply, but rather the respective for a connexitatis under national jurisdictional law. Such forum connexitatis does not exist under German national procedural law which might be the explanation why this type of case has not arisen in Germany, but one might of course think of delictual jurisdiction for both the parent and the foreign subsidiary by mutual attribution of delictual actions as joint tortfeasors, a concept that is interpreted broadly under section 32 German Code of Civil Procedure but of course again requires such a delictual claim against the parent under the applicable tort law in the first place.

After some input on space law by Frans van der Dunk (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Law) the conference was closed by Dean Steven Bartels. The conference expressed its gratitude and appreciation to him and in particular to Thomas Keijser and his splendid team for inviting the 9th TCL Teachers’ Meeting to Radboud University and for the great hospitality of one of the best universities of the country (at [one of?] the oldest cities in what is today the Netherlands and a Member of the Hanse, i.e. the Hanseatic League, as of 1402).

HCCH Preliminary Explanatory Report on the Draft Convention on Judgments

The Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) has issued a Preliminary Explanatory Report on the draft Convention on Judgments (Preliminary Document No 7 of October 2017) in both English and French for the attention of the Special Commission meeting of November 2017 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments.

The Preliminary Explanatory Report was prepared by Professors Francisco J. Garcimartín Alférez, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, and Geneviève Saumier, McGill University, Canada.

More information relating to the meeting is available at  As is evident from the Information Documents currently listed (some of which are available), the meeting will deal in particular with intellectual property rights and the extent to which they should be included in the scope of the draft Convention.

By way of comparison, it should be noted that intellectual property rights were discussed at length during the meetings of the Hague Convention of 30 June 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements (see Articles 2 n) and o) and 10(3) and eventually, Article 21). This was, in my view, a good compromise.

Please note that the meeting above-mentioned is open only to delegates or experts designated by the Members of the Hague Conference, invited non-Member States and International Organisations that have been granted observer status.

Out now: Cross-Border Litigation in Europe

Hart Publishing Ltd. (UK) has just announced the release of Cross-Border Litigation in Europe, edited by Paul Beaumont, Mihail Danov, Katarina Trimmings and Burcu Yüksel (ISBN 9781782256762, £90.00). The following description is drawn from the publisher’s flyer:

“This substantial and original book examines how the EU Private International Law (PIL) framework is functioning and considers its impact on the administration of justice in cross-border cases within the EU. It grew out of a major project (ie EUPILLAR: European Union Private International Law: Legal Application in Reality) financially supported by the EU Civil Justice Programme. The research was led by the Centre for Private International Law at the University of Aberdeen and involved partners from the Universities of Freiburg, Antwerp, Wroclaw, Leeds, Milan and Madrid (Complutense).
The contributors address the specific features of cross-border disputes in the EU by undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) and national case law on the Brussels I, Rome I and II, Brussels IIa and Maintenance Regulations. Part I discusses the development of the EU PIL framework. Part II contains the national reports from 26 EU Member States. Parts III (civil and commercial) and IV (family law) contain the CJEU case law analysis and several cross-cutting chapters. Part V briefly sets the agenda for an institutional reform which is necessary to improve the effectiveness of the EU PIL regime. This comprehensive research project book will be of interest to researchers, students, legal practitioners, judges and policy-makers who work, or are interested, in the field of private international law.”

For further details, please click here.

Registration for the Hague Academy Summer Courses is Open

(from the Peace Palace)

Attention scholars of international law: The registration for the 2018 summer courses of The Hague Academy of International Law has opened. Over the years, thousands of students and professionals have come to the Peace Palace in The Hague to acquire a deeper understanding of Public International Law and Private International Law. Have a look at the program here:

Humboldt Consumer Law Clinic: Opening Ceremony on 15 December 2017

On Friday, 15 December 2015, the Opening Ceremony of the Humboldt Consumer Law Clinic’s fifth cycle will take place. The ceremony will focus on current developments in the law of general terms and conditions which, from a legal perspective, create new challenges and pose numerous interesting and controversial questions.

“Fundamentals and latest challenges of the control of general terms and conditions”

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Phillip Hellwege, M.Jur. (Oxford), University of Augsburg and Vice President of the European Society for Comparative Legal History

Panelists:  Jutta Gurkmann, Federation of German Consumer Organisations, and Martin Freitag Association of the German Construction Industry.

The ceremony will start at 4 p.m. and take place at the Festsaal Luisenstraße 56, 10115 Berlin.

If you wish to participate please register here.

REDA 2017 “Regulation and Enforcement in the Digital Age”

The International Conference “Regulation and Enforcement in the Digital Age” will take place on 16 & 17 November in Nicosia, Cyprus.

The conference sessions are the following:

Copyright law in the digital era

Internet regulation and enforcement

Special issues in online data protection

Data protection and consumer rights

Emerging trends and challenges of e-commerce and consumer law

Cybersecurity and Internet regulation

PhD Students Special Session: Internet regulation: New challenges, new ideas.

For more info, press here

Privatizing Dispute Resolution and its Limits.Third IAPL-MPI Luxembourg Summer-School

It is our pleasure to announce the third edition of the International Association of Procedural Law (IAPL) – Max Planck Institute Luxembourg Summer-School, which will take place in Luxembourg from the 1st to the 4th of July 2018.

The 3rd edition of the Summer School has chosen to explore the topic of “Privatizing Dispute Resolution and its Limits”, where “privatizing” is understood in a broad sense. Different avenues can be envisaged thereto related. The first one focuses on the defense of public interests by means of private litigation; a second comprises the mechanisms for dispute resolution alternative to State justice; the third one deals with the commercialization of the judicial system. Applications under the first prong shall address the case of litigation in the interest of the broader (public) interest of the law: a regulatory approach that in Europe has been adopted in the context of competition law, intellectual property law, consumer protection, data protection and to some extent, also for the defense of the environment, in the search of avenues for the extraterritorial application of mandatory law. Under the second prong applications shall refer to commercial and investment arbitration, sports arbitration, consumer ADR, online dispute resolution for domain names controversies and the like. The third prong candidates shall focus on the development of private access to justice (litigation insurance, third party funding, etc), ”marketization” of the bar activity, emergence of new private actors with the legaltech, etc. Proposals must take into account that for different reasons all the  phenomena alluded to are subject to limits: to be feasible, the extraterritorial application of mandatory national or regional law requires procedural and substantial preconditions such as international jurisdiction over the defendant, or the support of an appropriately designed choice of law rule. As for alternative mechanisms of dispute resolution, in spite of their detachment from the control of State courts important interfaces remain, as demonstrated by the possibilities to apply for the annulment of the arbitral award or its non-recognition; or by the on-going contestation of CAS decisions before the ECHR. Finally, although schemes of third party funding and the like facilitate access to justice for single claims that wouldn’t be brought individually to the court, they raise many controversies and challenges while remaining unregulated.

All papers submitted to the 2018 Summer School should delve into one or several of these issues.

Up to 20 places will be available for applicants having procedural law and/or dispute resolution mechanisms as their main field of academic interest and meeting the conditions explained in the dedicated website.

Please follow this link for the online application.

Out Now: Cheshire, North and Fawcett (15th ed)

The 15th edition of the leading text on private international law, Cheshire, North & Fawcett: Private International Law, has been released.

This new edition is edited by Paul Torremans, Uglješa Gruši?, Christian Heinze, Louise Merrett, Alex Mills, Carmen Otero García-Castrillón, Zheng Sophia Tang, Katarina Trimmings, and Lara Walker, with James J. Fawcett as the Consultant Editor. It provides comprehensive coverage of the full range of private international law topics; offers not only in-depth academic treatment of the principles, but also an examination of important commercial topics within the subject, such as the private international law treatment of contracts, jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments; and written by an expert team with a wealth of both academic and practical experience.

The new edition of this well-established and highly regarded work has been fully updated to encompass the major changes and developments in the law, including coverage of the Recast Brussels I Regulation which came into force in 2015. The book is invaluable for the practitioner as well as being one of the leading students’ textbooks in the field, giving comprehensive and accessible coverage of the basic principles of private international law.

It offers students, teachers and practitioners not only a rigorous academic examination of the subject, but also a practical guide to the complex subject of private international law. Written by an expert team of academics, there is extensive coverage of commercial topics such as the jurisdiction of various courts and their limitations, stays of proceedings and restraining foreign proceedings, the recognition and enforcement of judgments, the law of obligations with respect to contractual and non-contractual obligations. There are also sections on the various aspects of family law in private international law, and the law of property, including the transfer of property, administration of estates, succession and trusts.