Professor Burkhard Hess on “Reforming the Brussels Ibis Regulation: Perspectives and Prospects”

A thought-provoking and much welcome contribution was posted by Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Burkhard Hess on SSRN, setting the stage for the discussion on the status quo in the application and the prospects of the Brussels IbisRegulation.

The article, titled “Reforming the Brussels Ibis Regulation: Perspectives and Prospects”, may be retrieved here.

The abstract reads as follows:

Epic’s Fight to #freefortnite: Challenging Exclusive Foreign Choice of Court Agreements under Australian Law

By Sarah McKibbin, University of Southern Queensland

Epic Games, the developer of the highly popular and lucrative online video game Fortnite, recently won an appeal against tech juggernaut, Apple, in Australia’s Federal Court.[1] Fortnite is played by over three million Apple iOS users in Australia.[2] In April 2021, Justice Perram awarded Apple a temporary three-month stay of proceedings on the basis of an exclusive foreign choice of court agreement in favour of the courts of the Northern District of California. Despite awarding this stay, Justice Perram was nevertheless ‘distinctly troubled in acceding to’ Apple’s application.[3] Epic appealed to the Full Court.

On 9 July, Justices Middleton, Jagot and Moshinsky found three errors of principle in Justice Perram’s consideration of the ‘strong reasons’ given by Epic for the proceedings to remain in the Federal Court — despite the exclusive foreign choice of court agreement.[4] Exercising its own discretion, the Full Court then found ‘strong reasons’ for the proceedings to remain in the Federal Court, particularly because enforcement of the choice of court agreement would ‘offend the public policy of the forum.’[5] They discerned this policy from various statutory provisions in Australia’s competition law as well as other public policy considerations.[6] The appeal highlights the tension that exists between holding parties to their promises to litigate abroad and countenancing breaches of contract where ‘serious issues of public policy’ are at play.[7]

1          Exclusive Choice of Foreign Court Agreements in Australia

Australians courts will enforce an exclusive choice of court agreement favouring a foreign court either by granting a stay of local proceedings or by awarding damages for breach of contract. The usual approach is for the Australian court to enforce the agreement and grant a stay of proceedings ‘unless strong reasons are shown why it should not.’[8] As Justice Allsop observed in Incitec v Alkimos Shipping Corp, ‘the question is one of the exercise of a discretion in all the circumstances, but recognising that the starting point is the fact that the parties have agreed to litigate elsewhere, and should, absent some strong countervailing circumstances, be held to their bargain.’[9] The burden of demonstrating strong reasons rests on the party resisting the stay.[10] Considerations of inconvenience and procedural differences between jurisdictions are unlikely to be sufficient as strong reasons.[11]

HCCH First Secretary Ribeiro-Bidaoui’s response re the debate surrounding the 2005 HCCH Choice of Court Convention

Dr. João Ribeiro-Bidaoui (First Secretary at the Hague Conference on Private International Law) has posted a compelling answer on the Kluwer Arbitration Blog to the debate sparked by Prof. Gary Born’s criticism in a series of posts published on the same Blog (see Part I, Part II, and Part III). First Secretary Ribeiro-Bidaoui’s response is masterfully crafted in drawing the boundaries between equally valuable and essential instruments, and certainly constitutes a most welcome contribution.

For further commentary on these exchanges, see also on the EAPIL Blog, here.

Red-chip enterprises’ overseas listing: Securities regulation and conflict of laws

Written by Jingru Wang, Wuhan University Institute of International Law

 

1.Background

Three days after its low-key listing in the US on 30 June 2021, Didi Chuxing (hereinafter “Didi”) was investigated by the Cyberspace Administration of China (hereinafter “CAC”) based on the Chinese National Security Law and Measures for Cybersecurity Review.[1] Didi Chuxing as well as 25 Didi-related APPs were then banned for seriously violating laws around collecting and using personal information,[2] leading to the plummet of Didi’s share. On 16 July 2021, the CAC, along with other six government authorities, began an on-site cybersecurity inspection of Didi.[3] The CAC swiftly issued the draft rules of Measures for Cybersecurity Review and opened for public consultation.[4] It proposed that any company with data of more than one million users must seek the Office of Cybersecurity Review’s approval before listing its shares overseas. It also proposed companies must submit IPO materials to the Office of Cybersecurity Review for review ahead of listing.

It is a touchy subject. Didi Chuxing is a Beijing-based vehicle for hire company. Its core business bases on the accumulation of mass data which include personal and traffic information. The accumulated data not only forms Didi’s unique advantage but also is the focus of supervision. The real concern lays in the possible disclosure of relevant operational and financial information at the request of US securities laws and regulations, which may cause data leakage and threaten national security. Therefore, China is much alert to information-based companies trying to list overseas.

RIDOC 2021: Call for Applications

University of Rijeka, Faculty of Law is announcing this year’s call for applications to the Rijeka Doctoral Conference: RIDOC 2021. Open to any legal or related topic od doctoral research, the conference traditionally hosts at least one session in private international law. Applications should be sent to ridoc@pravri.hr before the end of August. The conference is planned to take place on 10 December 2021 in the hybrid format, while the abstracts will be published in an e-book.

The Latest Development on Anti-suit Injunction Wielded by Chinese Courts to Restrain Foreign Parallel Proceedings

(This post is provided by Zeyu Huang, who is an associate attorney of Hui Zhong Law Firm based in Shenzhen. Mr. Huang obtained his LLB degree from the Remin University of China Law School. He is also a PhD candidate & LLM at the Faculty of Law in University of Macau. The author may be contacted at the e-mail address: huangzeyu@huizhonglaw.com)

A Conflict of Laws Companion – Adrian Briggs Retires from Oxford

By Tobias Lutzi, University of Cologne

There should be few readers of this blog, and few conflict-of-laws experts in general, to whom Adrian Briggs will not be a household name. In fact, it might be impossible to find anyone working in the field who has not either read some of his academic writings (or Lord Goff’s seminal speech in The Spiliada [1986] UKHL 10, which directly credits them) or had the privilege of attending one of his classes in Oxford or one of the other places he has visited over the years.

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments about Forum Land

By Stephen G.A. Pitel, Western University

In common law Canada, it has long been established that a court will not recognize and enforce a foreign judgment concerning title to land in the forum.  The key case in support is Duke v Andler, [1932] SCR 734.

The ongoing application of that decision has now been called into question by the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Lanfer v Eilers, 2021 BCCA 241 (available here).  In the court below the judge relied on Duke and refused recognition and enforcement of a German decision that determined the ownership of land in British Columbia.  The Court of Appeal reversed and gave effect to the German decision.  This represents a significant change to Canadian law in this area.

The EAPO Regulation: An unexpected interpretative tool of the French civil procedural system

Carlos Santaló Goris, Researcher at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Luxembourg, offers an analysis of some aspects of a judgment rendered by the Paris Court of Appeals.

Regulation No 655/2014, establishing a European Account Preservation Order (“EAPO Regulation”) introduced not only the first uniform provisional measure at the EU level but also the first European specific system to search for the debtors’ bank accounts. The so-called information mechanism is, though, less accessible than the EAPO itself. According to Article 5 of the EAPO Regulation, creditors can apply for an EAPO ante demandam, during the procedure on the substance of the matter; or when they have already a title (a judgment, a court settlement, or an authentic document). However, only creditors with a title can submit a request for information. Furthermore, in case the title is not yet enforceable, creditors are subject to specific additional prerequisites.

In broad terms, the information mechanism operates following a traditional scheme of cross-border cooperation in civil matters within the EU. A court in a Member State sends a request for information to an information authority in the same or other Member State. The information authority then searches for the bank accounts and informs the court of origin about the outcome of that search.

China Enacts the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law

Xu Huang, Sophia Tang
Wuhan University Institute of International Law

1. Background
On 10 June 2021, China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (hereinafter “NPC”) issued “Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law of the People’s Republic of China” (hereinafter “CAFSL”), which entered into force on the date of the promulgation. This is a reaction in response to the current tension between China and some western countries, in particular, the US and the EU that have imposed a series of sanctions on Chinese officials and entities. For example, in August 2020, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on 11 individuals for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and restricting the freedom of expression or assembly of the citizens of Hong Kong. In June 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14032 to amend the ban on US persons purchasing securities of certain Chinese companies. In March 2021, the EU imposed unilateral sanctions on relevant Chinese individuals and entity, based on the human rights issues in Xinjiang. China has responded by imposing counter sanctions, which were issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as administrative orders. The Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law provides the legal basis for China’s further action and counter measures. This law was enacted after only two readings rather than the normal three demonstrating China’s urgent need to defend itself against a growing risk of foreign hostile measures.