Conference “Diversity of Enforcement titles in Cross-border debt Collection in the EU”

On 3 and 4 September 2021 the international conference “Diversity of Enforcement titles in Cross-border debt Collection in the EU” will take place in hybrid mode – online and onsite in Maribor, Slovenia. The conference will feature speeches from several distinguished experts including Judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union Marko Ilesic as a keynote speaker.

The conference is organised by the University of Maribor, Faculty of Law within the framework of the EU Justice project “Diversity of Enforcement titles in cross-border debt collection in the EU – EU-En4s“, which is a consortium of 16 partners from 12 EU Member States and a third State. Registration is free of charge and available here.

Forum Selection Clauses and Cruise Ship Contracts

On August 19, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued its latest decision on foreign forum selection clauses in cruise ship contracts.  The case was Turner v. Costa Crociere S.P.A.  The plaintiff was an American cruise ship passenger, Paul Turner, who brought a class action in federal district court in Florida alleging that the cruise line’s “negligence contributed to an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard the Costa Luminosa during his transatlantic voyage beginning on March 5, 2020.”

The cruise line moved to dismiss the case on the basis of a forum selection clause in the ticket mandating that all disputes be resolved by a court in Genoa, Italy. The contract also contained a choice-of-law clause selecting Italian law. By way of background, it is important to note that (1) the parent company for the cruise line was headquartered in Italy, (2) its operating subsidiary was headquartered in Florida, (3) the cruise was to begin in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and (4) the cruise was to terminate in the Canary Islands.

EPO and EAPO Regulations: A new reform of the Luxembourgish Code of Civil Procedure

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 Luxemburgish domestic legislation regarding the EPO and EAPO Regulations.

On 23 July 2021, a new legislative reform of the Luxembourgish Code of Civil Procedure (“NCPC”), entered into force amending, among other articles, those concerning Regulation No 1896/2006, establishing a European Payment Order (“EPO Regulation”) and Regulation No 655/2014, establishing a European Account Preservation Order (“EAPO Regulation”).

The EPO and the EAPO Regulations embody, respectively, the first and third European uniform civil procedures. While the EPO, as its name indicates, is a payment order, the EAPO is a provisional measure that allows temporary freezing of the funds in the debtor’s bank accounts. Although they are often referred to as uniform procedures, both leave numerous elements to the discretion of the Member States’ national laws.

Leave to Issue and Serve Originating Process Outside Jurisdiction Versus Substituted Service: A Distinction with a Difference

Witten by Orji A Uka (Senior Associate at ALP NG & Co) and Damilola Alabi (Associate at ALP NG & Co)

Introduction

The issuance and service of an originating process are fundamental issues that afford or rob a court of jurisdiction to adjudicate over a matter. This is because it is settled law that the proceedings and judgment of a court which lacks jurisdiction result in a nullity[1]. Yet, despite the necessity of ensuring that the issuance and service of an originating process comply with the various State High Court Civil Procedure Rules or Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules (“the relevant court rules”) or the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, legal practitioners and sometimes judges commonly conflate the issuance and service of court process on defendants outside jurisdiction with the concept of service of court process by substituted means on defendants within the jurisdiction[2]. This paper set outs the differences between both commonly confused principles with the aim of providing clarity to its readers and contributing to the body of knowledge on this fundamental aspect of the Nigerian adjectival law.

 

Territorial Jurisdiction of Courts in Nigeria

Defending the Rule in Antony Gibbs

By Neerav Srivastava

 

The Rule in Antony Gibbs[1] (‘the Rule’) provides that if the proper law of a contract is Australian, then a discharge of the debt by a foreign jurisdiction will not be a discharge in Australia unless the creditor submitted to the foreign jurisdiction.[2] The Rule is much maligned, especially in insolvency circles, and has been described as “Victorian”.[3] In ‘Heritage and Vitality: Whether Antony Gibbs is a Presumption’[4] I seek to defend the Rule.

Presumption

The article begins by arguing that, in the modern context, that the Rule should be recognised as a Presumption as to party intentions.

Briefly, Gibbs was decided in the 1890s. At the time, the prevailing view was that the proper law of a contract was either the law of the place of the contract or its performance.[5] This approach was based on apportioning regulatory authority between sovereign States rather than party intentions. To apply a foreign proper law in a territory was regarded as contrary to territorial sovereignty. Freedom of contract and party intentions were becoming relevant to proper law but only to a limited extent.[6]

As for Gibbs, Lord Esher’s language is consistent with the ‘Regulatory Approach’:

The Hague Judgments Convention and Commonwealth Model Law: A Pragmatic Perspective

The Hague Judgments Convention and Commonwealth Model Law

A foreign judgment that cannot be enforced is useless no matter how well it is/was written. The fact that a foreign judgment can be readily enforced aids the prompt settlement of disputes and makes international commercial transactions more effective.  The importance of the enforcement of foreign judgments cannot be over-emhpasised because international commercial parties are likely to lose confidence in a system that does not protect their interests in the form of recognising and enforcing a foreign judgment.

Today Hart published a new private international law monograph focused on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. Its title is “The Hague Judgments Convention and Commonwealth Model Law: A Pragmatic Perspective.” The author of this monograph is Dr Abubakri Yekini of the Lagos State University. The monograph is based on his PhD thesis at the University of Aberdeen titled “A Critical Analysis of the Hague Judgments Convention and Commonwealth Model Law from a Pragmatic Perspective.”

The abstract of the book reads as follows:

Tort Choice of Law Rules in Cross-border Multi-party Litigation under European and Chinese Private International Law

Tort Choice of Law Rules in Cross-border Multi-party Litigation under European and Chinese Private International Law Read more

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.