European Parliament Resolution on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability

Our blog has reported earlier on the Proposal and Report by the Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament for a Resolution on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability. That proposal contained recommendations to amend the EU Regulations Brussels Ia (1215/2015) and  Rome II (864/2007). The proposals were discussed and commented on by Jan von Hein, Chris Tomale, Giesela RühlEduardo Álvarez-Armas and Geert van Calster

On 10 March 2021 the European Parliament adopted the Resolution with a large majority. However, the annexes proposing to amend the Brussels Ia and Rome II Regulations did not survive. The Resolution calls upon the European Commission to draw up a directive to ensure that undertakings active in the EU respect human rights and the environment and that they operate good governance. The European Commission has already indicated that it will work on this.

Even if the private international law instruments are not amended, the Resolution touches private international law in several ways.

*  It specifies that the “Member States shall ensure that relevant provisions of this Directive are considered overriding mandatory provisions in line with Article 16 of Regulation (EC) No 864/2007” (Art. 20). It is a bit strange that this is left to national law and not made an overriding mandatory provision of EU law in line with the CJEU’s Ingmar judgment (on the protection of commercial agents – also a Directive). Perhaps the legislator decides otherwise.

ILA “Kyoto Guidelines on Intellectual Property and Private International Law” published with comments

Written by Toshiyuki Kono, Pedro de Miguel Asensio and Axel Metzger

The International Law Association’s Committee on “Intellectual Property and Private International Law” has finished its work with the adoption and publication of the “Kyoto Guidelines on Intellectual Property and Private International Law”. The Guidelines are the outcome of an international cooperation of a group of 36 scholars from 19 jurisdictions lasting for ten years under the auspices of ILA. The Kyoto Guidelines have been approved by the plenary of the ILA 79th Biennial Conference, held (online) in Kyoto on December 13, 2020. The Guidelines provide soft-law principles on the private international law aspects of intellectual property, which may guide the interpretation and reform of national legislation and international instruments, and may be useful as source of inspiration for courts, arbitrators and further research in the field. Different from older regional projects, the Kyoto Guidelines have been prepared by experts from different world regions. The Guidelines have now been published with extended comments as a special issue of the Open Access journal JIPITEC: https://www.jipitec.eu.

CJEU on the EU-third State child abduction proceedings under article 10 of the Brussels IIA Regulation

This post was written by Vito Bumbaca, PhD candidate/ Assistant Lecturer, University of Geneva

The EAPIL blog has also published a post on this topic, click here.

Introduction:

The Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000 (Brussels IIA Regulation) still applies to the United Kingdom in EU cross-border proceedings dealing with parental responsibility and/ or child civil abduction commenced prior to the 31 December 2020 (date when ‘Brexit’ entered into force). Moreover, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is entitled to exercise its jurisdiction over such proceedings involving the UK.

The decision of the High Court of England and Wales (Family Division, 6 November 2020, EWHC 2971 (Fam)), received at the CJEU on 16 November 2020 for an urgent preliminary ruling (pursuant to article 19(3)(b) of the Treaty of the European Union, art. 267 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union, and art. 107 of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of Justice), and the CJEU judgment (SS v. MCP, C-603/20, 24 march 2021) are taken as reference in this analysis.

Question for a CJEU urgent preliminary ruling:

‘Does Article 10 of [Regulation No 2201/2003] retain jurisdiction, without limit of time, in a Member State if a child habitually resident in that Member State was wrongfully removed to (or retained in) a non-Member State where she, following such removal (or retention), in due course became habitually resident?’

Contents of the EWHC (Family Division) judgment:

New book on International Negotiable Instruments by Benjamin Geva & Sagi Peari

(published by Oxford University Press, 2020)

The authors kindly provided the following summary: 

The book marries two fields of law: negotiable instruments and choice-of-law. Bills of exchange, cheques and promissory notes are the main classical negotiable instruments. For centuries, these instruments have played a vital role in the smooth operation of domestic and international commerce, including in transactions between distantly located parties. Through their evolution, fusion, and sophistication, they have remained one of the primary tools for everyday commercial activity, serving as one of the primary methods of payment and credit and one of the cornerstones of the contemporary bank-centred system. The rapid technological progress of payment mechanisms has embraced the traditional institution of negotiable instruments leading to their further adaptation and sophistication in order to meet the challenges of the contemporary reality of frequent mobility of people, goods, and high daily volumes of cross-border transactions and international commerce.

Foreign law illegality and non-contractual claims

Written by Marcus Teo (Sheridan Fellow (Incoming), National University of Singapore)

Since Foster v Driscoll [1929] 1 KB 470, common law courts have recognised that contracts made with the intention to commit a criminal offence in a foreign state are unenforceable, even if the contract contemplated an alternative mode or place of performance. However, recent developments in domestic law illegality have sparked debate on whether foreign law illegality too should be reformed in a similar light (see Ryder Industries Ltd v Chan Shui Woo [2016] 1 HKC 323, [36], [52]-[55]; cf Magdeev v Tsvetkov [2020] EWHC 887 (Comm), [331]-[332]). The debate, however, has thus far not considered whether foreign law illegality should expand to bar certain non-contractual claims – a question which the Singapore Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Jonathan Ang v Lyu Yan [2021] SGCA 12 raises.

Just released: Opinion of the US Supreme Court regarding the consolidated Ford Motor cases – A victory for consumers in two defective-product cases

Written by Mayela Celis

On 25 March 2021, the US Supreme Court rendered its opinion on the consolidated Ford Motor cases, which deals with personal jurisdiction (in particular, specific jurisdiction) over Ford Motor Company. These cases deal with a malfunctioning 1996 Ford Explorer and a defective 1994 Crown Victoria vehicles, which caused the death of a passenger in Montana and the injury of another passenger in Minnesota, respectively. The consolidated cases are: Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court et al. and Ford Motor Co. v. Bandemer.

The opinion is available here. We have previously reported on this case here.

The question presented was:

The Nigerian Court of Appeal declines to enforce a Commonwealth of Virginia (in USA) Choice of Court Agreement

 

I am coordinating together with other African private international law experts (Richard Frimpong Oppong, Anthony Kennedy, and Pontian Okoli) an extended and in-depth version of this blog post and more topics, titled “Investing in English-speaking Africa: A private international law toolkit”, which will be the topic of an online Master Class at TMC Asser Institute on June 24-25, 2021.

 

Introduction

In  the year 2020, the Nigerian Court of Appeal delivered at least three decisions on foreign choice of court agreements.[1] I discussed two of those cases in this blog here and here. In the first two decisions delivered in the year 2020, the Nigerian Court of Appeal gave full contractual effect to the parties’ foreign choice of court agreement.[2] In other words, the Nigerian Court of Appeal interpreted the parties’ foreign choice of court agreement strictly according to is terms as it would do to a contractual document between commercial parties.

In November 30 2020, the Nigerian Court of Appeal delivered a third decision where it declined to enforce a Commonwealth of Virginia (in USA) Choice of Court Agreement.[3] In this connection, the author is of the view that the Court of Appeal’s decision was delivered per incuriam. This is the focus of this comment.

 

Facts

In this case, the claimant/respondent commenced action at the Kaduna High Court with a writ of summons and statement of claim dated the 18th December, 2018 wherein it claimed against the defendant/appellant, the sum of $18,103.00 (USD) being due and unpaid software licensing fee owed by them by virtue of the agreement between the parties dated 12th day of June, 2013.

Is Tessili still good law?

by Felix M. Wilke, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Most readers of this blog will be well aware that, according to the ECJ, the “place of performance” of a contractual obligation within the meaning of Article 7(1)(a) Brussels Ibis is not a concept to be understood independently from national law. Rather, in order to determine this place, one must apply the substantive law designated by the forum’s conflict-of-law rules. The ECJ has held so for decades, starting with Tessili (Case C-12/76, ECLI:EU:C:1976:133, at 13). Recent decisions by the ECJ have led me to doubt that Tessili still is lex terrae Europaea, at least as far as contracts with some relation to a right in rem in immovable property are concerned. (And I am not alone: Just today, Marion Ho-Dac analyses this issue as well over at the EAPIL Blog.)

The applicability of Article 7(1)(a) Brussels Ibis in the context of co-ownership agreements

A few takeaways of the Conclusions & Decisions of the HCCH governing body (CGAP): gender issues, Jurisdiction Project and future meetings

On 5 March 2021, the Conclusions & Decisions of the HCCH governing body, the Council on General Affairs and Policy (CGAP), were released. Click here for the English version and here for the French version.

Although there is a wide range of topics discussed, I would like to focus on three aspects: gender issues, the Jurisdiction Project and future meetings.

1) Today is International Women’s Day and there are important conclusions on gender issues. The Conclusions & Decisions No 52-54 read as follows:

“G. Geographic Representation

“52. Reaffirming the principles of universality and inclusiveness, CGAP reiterated its commitment to ensuring appropriate geographic representation at the HCCH. Recognising the importance of this issue, CGAP agreed to maintain this item on the agenda for its 2022 meeting. CGAP invited the  PB  to facilitate,  within  existing  resources,  informal  consultations  ahead  of  the  2022 meeting of CGAP,  through in-person meetings, while ensuring the opportunity for any HCCH Member to participate.

Recommendation in The Netherlands to suspend intercountry adoptions

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.