Australia’s statutist orthodoxy: High Court confirms the extraterritorial scope of the Australian Consumer Law in the Ruby Princess COVID-cruise case

The Ruby Princess will be remembered by many Australians with disdain as the floating petri dish that kicked off the spread of COVID-19 in Australia. The ship departed Sydney on 8 March 2020, then returned early on 19 March 2020 after an outbreak. Many passengers became sick. Some died. According to the BBC, the ship was ultimately linked to at least 900 infections and 28 deaths.

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The jurisdictional hurdles of s 26 of the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010 (Cth), in the context of interim anti-enforcement relief in aid of New Zealand proceedings

The New Zealand High Court recently granted a permanent anti-enforcement injunction in relation to a default judgment from Kentucky in Kea Investments Ltd v Wikeley Family Trustee Limited [2023] NZHC 3260. The plaintiff, a British Virgin Islands company, claimed that the defendants had committed a tortious conspiracy against it because the Kentucky default judgment was based on fabricated claims intended to defraud it. The defendants were a New Zealand company, Wikeley Family Trustee Ltd (WFTL), and persons associated with the company.

In an undefended judgment, the High Court granted the injunction, awarded damages for the costs incurred in the foreign proceedings (referring to cases such as Union Discount Co Ltd v Zoller [2001] EWCA Civ 1755, [2002] 1 WLR 1517 by analogy), and issued a declaration that the Kentucky judgment would not be recognised or enforceable in New Zealand. As noted previously on this blog (see here), the case is an interesting example of “the fraud exception to the principles of comity” (Kea Investments Ltd v Wikeley (No 2) [2023] QSC 215 at [192]).

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Second Act in Dutch TikTok class action on privacy violation: court assesses Third Party Funding Agreements

Written by Eduardo Silva de Freitas (Erasmus University Rotterdam),  Xandra Kramer (Erasmus University Rotterdam/Utrecht University) & Jos Hoevenaars (Erasmus University Rotterdam), members of the Vici project Affordable Access to Justice, financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO),  



Third Party Litigation Funding (TPLF) has been one of the key topics of discussion in European civil litigation over the past years, and has been the topic of earlier posts on this forum. Especially in the international practice of collective actions, TPLF has gained popularity for its ability to provide the financial means needed for these typically complex and very costly procedures. The Netherlands is a jurisdiction generally considered one of the frontrunners in having a well-developed framework for collective actions and settlements, particularly since the Mass Damage Settlement in Collective Actions Act (WAMCA) became applicable on 1 January 2020 (see also our earlier blogpost). A recent report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security found that most collective actions seeking damages brought under the (WAMCA) have an international dimension, and that all of these claims for damages are brought with the help of TPLF.

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Is this a Conflicts Case?

In Sharp v Autorité des marchés financiers, 2023 SCC 29 (available here) the Supreme Court of Canada has held that a Quebec administrative tribunal, the Financial Markets Administrative Tribunal, can hear a proceeding brought by the administrative agency that regulates Quebec’s financial sector, the Autorité des marchés financiers, against four defendants who reside in British Columbia.  The AMF alleged in the proceedings that the defendants had contravened the Quebec Securities Act.

The courts below, including a majority of the Quebec Court of Appeal, focused the analysis on s. 93 of the Act respecting the Autorité des marchés financiers, CQLR, c. A-33.2, which grants the FMAT jurisdiction to make determinations under the Securities Act.  They interpreted and applied this provision in light of Unifund Assurance Co. v Insurance Corp. of British Columbia, 2003 SCC 40, a leading decision on the scope of application of provincial law, which held that a provincial regulatory scheme constitutionally applies to an out-of-province defendant when there is a “real and substantial connection”, also described as a “sufficient connection”, between the province and the defendant.  This test was met on the facts [see para 22] and so the FMAT had jurisdiction.  This analysis is not generally understood as being within the field of conflict of laws.  Indeed, the majority of the Court of Appeal “saw no conflict of jurisdiction or any conflict of laws that would require the application of private international law rules to this case” [see para 29].

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How to Criticize U.S. Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (Part II)

Written by Bill Dodge, the John D. Ayer Chair in Business Law and Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law.

There are better and worse ways to criticize U.S. extraterritorial jurisdiction. In Part I of this post, I discussed some shortcomings of a February 2023 report by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The U.S. Willful Practice of Long-arm Jurisdiction and its Perils.” I pointed out that the report’s use of the phrase “long-arm jurisdiction” confuses extraterritorial jurisdiction with personal jurisdiction. I noted that China applies its own laws extraterritorially on the same bases that it criticizes the United States for using. I argued that the report ignores significant constraints that U.S. courts impose on the extraterritorial application of U.S. laws. And I suggested that China had chosen to emphasize weak examples of U.S. extraterritoriality, such as the bribery prosecution of Frédéric Pierucci, which was not even extraterritorial.

In this post, I suggest some better ways of criticizing U.S. extraterritorial jurisdiction. Specifically, I discuss three cases in which the extraterritorial application of U.S. law appears to violate customary international law rules on jurisdiction to prescribe: (1) the indictment of Huawei executive Wanzhou Meng; (2) the application of U.S. sanctions based solely on clearing dollar transactions through U.S. banks; and (3) the application of U.S. export controls to foreign companies abroad based on “Foreign Direct Product” Rules. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs report complains a lot about U.S. sanctions, but not about the kind of sanctions that most clearly violates international law. The report says much less about export controls and nothing about Meng’s indictment, which is odd given the tensions that both have caused between China and the United States. Read more

How to Criticize U.S. Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (Part I)

Written by Bill Dodge, the John D. Ayer Chair in Business Law and Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law.

China has been critical of U.S. extraterritorial jurisdiction. In February, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a report entitled “The U.S. Willful Practice of Long-arm Jurisdiction and its Perils.” In the report, the Ministry complained about U.S. secondary sanctions, the discovery of evidence abroad, the Helms-Burton Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and the use of extraterritorial jurisdiction in criminal cases. The report claimed that U.S. extraterritorial jurisdiction has caused “severe harm … to the international political and economic order and the international rule of law.”

There are better and worse ways to criticize U.S. extraterritorial jurisdiction. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs report pursues some of the worse ways and neglects some better ones. In this post, I discuss a few of the report’s shortcoming. In a second post, I discuss stronger arguments that one could make against U.S. extraterritorial jurisdiction. Read more

International child abduction: navigating between private international law and children’s rights law

In the summer of 2023 Tine Van Hof defended her PhD on this topic at the University of Antwerp.  The thesis will be published by Hart Publishing in the Studies in Private International Law series (expected in 2025). She has provided this short summary of her research.

When a child is abducted by one of their parents, the courts dealing with a return application must consider several legal instruments. First, they must take into account private international law instruments, specifically, the Hague Child Abduction Convention (1980) and the Brussels IIb Regulation (2019/1111). Second, they have to take into account children’s rights law instruments, including mainly the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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Choice of law in commercial contracts and regulatory competition: new steps to be made by the EU?

The recently published study titled ‘European Commercial Contract Law’, authored by Andrea Bertolini, addresses the theme of regulatory competition. It offers new policy recommendations to improve EU legal systems’ chances of being chosen as the law governing commercial contracts.


The Study’s main question

The European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs has published a new study authored by Andrea Bertolini, titled ‘European Commercial Contract Law’ (the ‘Study’). The Study formulates the main question as follows: ‘why the law chosen in commercial contracts is largely non-European and non-member state law’. The expression ‘non-European and non-member state’ law is specified as denoting the legal systems of England and Wales, the United States, and Singapore, and more generally, common law legal systems. The Study states:

It is easily observed how most often international contracts are governed by non-European law. The reasons why this occurs are up to debate and could be quite varied both in nature and relevance. Indeed, a recent study by Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) found that 43 per cent of commercial practitioners and in-house counsel preferred English law as the governing law of the contracts. Read more

Financial Hardship and Forum Selection Clauses

The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that a forum selection clause should not be enforced when “trial in the contractual forum will be so gravely difficult and inconvenient” that the plaintiff “will for all practical purposes be deprived of his day in court.” The financial status of the plaintiff is obviously a factor that should be considered as part of this inquiry. Large corporations can usually afford to litigate cases in distant courts. Individual plaintiffs frequently lack the resources to do so. Nevertheless, the lower federal courts in the United States have repeatedly held that financial hardship on the part of the plaintiff is not enough to make an otherwise valid forum selection clause unenforceable. Read more

Revised Canadian Statute on Judgment Enforcement

Two years ago, the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC) released a revised version of the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act (CJPTA), model legislation putting the taking of jurisdiction and staying of proceedings on a statutory footing. The statute is available here.

The ULCC has now released a revised version of another model statute, the Enforcement of Canadian Judgments Act (ECJA). The original version of this statute was prepared in 1998 and had been amended four times. It has now been consolidated and substantially revised. It is available here and background information is available here and here.

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