The Committee Investigating Intercountry Adoption, has recommended that The Netherlands suspend intercountry adoptions. The interdisciplinary committee considered the history and legal evolution, and did an in-depth investigation into adoptions from five selected countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka). It looked into the consequences for the people involved (adoptees, birth families and adoptive families), the perception in society, the best interests of the child and the right to know one’s origins and identity. It came to the conclusion that there have been too many abuses and that the current system is still open to fraud and abuses. It further stated that the lessons learned should be applied to new methods of family formation such as surrogacy.
Written by Marcus Teo (Sheridan Fellow (Incoming), National University of Singapore)
The law in Singapore on Mareva injunctions supporting foreign proceedings is on the move again. The High Court’s recent decision in Allenger v Pelletier  SGHC 279, issued barely a year after the Court of Appeal’s decision in Bi Xiaoqiong v China Medical Technologies  2 SLR 595;  SGCA 50 (see previous post here) qualifies the latter, confounding Singapore’s position on this complex issue even further.
By Jie (Jeanne) Huang, Associate Professor, University of Sydney Law School Australia
In 2013, the plaintiffs, ePayment Solutions Pty Ltd (EPS) and RCD Holdings Ltd (RCD) concluded a written contract with the defendant, LT Game International (Australia) Ltd (LT) about the development and installation of a computer betting game. LT is a company incorporated in the Virgin Islands and registered in Australia as a foreign company. The contract was signed in Australia. Its Clause 10 provides.
“10. Governing Law
Any dispute or issue arising hereunder, including any alleged breach by any party, shall be heard, determined and resolved by an action commenced in Macau. The English language will be used in all documents.”
by Professor Dr Eva-Maria Kieninger, Chair for German and European Private Law and Private International Law, University of Würzburg, Germany
The Supreme Court’s decision in Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell (2021 UKSC 3) concerns the preliminary question whether English courts have jurisdiction over a joint claim brought by two Nigerian communities against Royal Dutch Shell (RSD), a UK parent company, as anchor defendant, and a Nigerian oil company (SPDC) in which RSD held 30 % of the shares. The jurisdictional decision depended (among other issues that still need to be resolved) on a question of substantive law: Was it “reasonably arguable” that RSD owed a common law duty of care to the Nigerian inhabitants whose health and property was damaged by the operations of the subsidiary in Nigeria?
By Maria Hook (University of Otago, New Zealand) and Jack Wass (Stout Street Chambers, New Zealand)
When a couple divorce or separate, and the court is tasked with identifying what property is to be allocated between the parties, calculation of the net pool of assets usually takes into account certain debts. This includes matrimonial debts that that are in the sole name of one spouse, and even certain personal debts, ensuring that the debtor spouse receives credit for that liability in the division of matrimonial property. However, where a spouse owes a liability that may not, in practice, be repaid, deduction of the debt from the pool of the couple’s property may result in the other spouse receiving a lower share of the property than would be fair in the circumstances. For example, a spouse owes a debt to the Inland Revenue that is, in principle, deductible from the value of that spouse’s assets to be allocated between the parties. But the debtor spouse has no intention of repaying the debt and has rendered themselves judgment-proof. In such a case, deduction of the debt from the debtor spouse’s matrimonial property would leave the other spouse sharing the burden of a debt that will not be repaid.
Issues relating to succession and administration of estate of a deceased person raise significant issues in Nigerian private international law (or conflict of laws), whether a person dies testate or intestate. In the very recent case of Sarki v Sarki & Ors, the Nigerian Court of Appeal considered the issue of what court had territorial jurisdiction in a matter of succession and administration of estate of a deceased person’s property under Nigerian conflict of laws dealing with inter-state matters. While this comment agrees with the conclusion reached by the Court of Appeal, it submits that the rationale for the Court’s decision on the issue of territorial jurisdiction for succession and administration of estates under Nigerian private international law in inter-state matters is open to question.
Written by Dr Ben Köhler, MPI Hamburg
Last week, following severe criticisms of its procurement strategy and a dispute with AstraZeneca over the delays in delivery of the vaccine, the EU Commission has published the Advance Purchase Agreement for the Production, Purchase and Supply of a Covid-19 Vaccine in the European Union (APA) it had concluded with AstraZeneca in August 2020. Although some important clauses were blackened at the request of AstraZeneca, the document gives interesting insights into the procurement practice of the EU and has incited a plethora of comments by the legal experts. Despite the broad coverage in legal and non-legal press, the issue of applicable law has received comparably little attention (but see Till Maier-Lohmann on the CISG’s potential applicability). In its first part, this post will argue that, as far as one can tell by the published document, the CISG is likely to be the applicable law to the contract, before outlining some of the consequences of the CISG’s potential application in the second part.
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 a summary and a compelling analysis of the Czech domestic legislation regarding the EAPO Regulation.
On 22 January 2021, the Czech Chamber of Deputies approved “the government act amending Act No. 6/2002 Coll., on courts, judges, lay judges and the state administration of courts and amending certain other acts (the Courts and Judges Act), the wording of later regulations, and other related laws, according to the Chamber of Deputies 630 as amended by the Chamber of Deputies”. The reform is now pending before the Czech Senate.
By Magdalena Lagiewska, University of Gdansk
This post reviews the symposium issue of the American Journal of International Law Unbound on “Global Labs of International Commercial Dispute Resolution”. This issue includes an introduction and six essays explaining the current changes and developments in the global landscape for settling international commercial disputes. The multifarious perspectives have been discussed to show tendencies and challenges ahead.
by Jingru Wang, Wuhan University Institute of International Law
A blocking statute is adopted by a country to hinder the extraterritorial application of foreign legislation. For example, the EU adopted Council Regulation No 2271/96 (hereinafter “EU Blocking Statute”) in 1996 to protest the US’s extraterritorial sanctions legislation concerning Cuba, Iran and Libya. Since Donald Trump became the US president, the US government officially defined China as its competitor. Consequently, China has been increasingly targeted by US sanctions. For example, in 2018, the US imposed broad sanctions on China’s Equipment Development Department (EDD), the branch of the military responsible for weapons procurement and its director for violating the US law on sanctions against Russia. In 2020, the US announced new sanctions on Chinese firms for aiding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. A number of “Belt and Road” countries are targeted by US primary sanctions, which means that Chinese entities may face a high risk of secondary sanctions for trading with these countries. In these contexts, Chinese scholars and policy makers explore the feasibility to enact blocking law to counter foreign sanctions. On 9 January 2021, China’s Ministry of Commerce (hereinafter “MOFCOM”) issued “Rules on Counteracting Unjustified Extraterritorial Application of Foreign Legislation and Other Measures” (hereinafter “Chinese Blocking Rules”), which entered into force on the date of the promulgation.