A centralized court for the EAPO Regulation in the Czech Republic?

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.

Introduction

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.

The first legislative implementation of the EAPO Regulation in the Czech national law

This act introduces the very first amendment of the Czech domestic legislation regarding Regulation No 655/2014, establishing a European Account Preservation Order (“EAPO Regulation”).

Review of the AJIL Unbound symposium: Global Labs of International Commercial Dispute Resolution

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.

Overall, the AJIL Unbound special issue is, without doubt, one of the most impactful contributions on changes in international commercial dispute resolution landscape. It is a successful attempt and a fascinating analysis of recent developments in this field. This is certainly a must-read for anyone interested in reshaping the landscape of dispute resolution worldwide. Beyond the theoretical context, it includes many practical aspects and provides new insight into the prospects of its development and potential challenges for the future. I highly recommend it not only to the researchers on international commercial dispute resolution, but also to legal practitioners—lawyers, arbitrators, and mediators among others. Below, I have outlined each of the symposium’s contributions.

Can China’s New “Blocking Statute” Combat Foreign Sanctions?

by Jingru Wang, Wuhan University Institute of International Law

  1. Background

A blocking statute is adopted by a country to hinder the extraterritorial application of foreign legislation.[1] 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.[2] Since Donald Trump became the US president, the US government officially defined China as its competitor.[3] 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.[4] In 2020, the US announced new sanctions on Chinese firms for aiding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

 

  1. Analysis of the Main Content

Competent Authority: Chinese government will establish a “Working Mechanism” led by the MOFCOM and composed of relevant central departments, such as the National Development and Reform Commission. The Working Mechanism will take charge of counteracting unjustified extraterritorial application of foreign legislation and other measures (Art. 4).

Personal Injury and Article 4(3) of Rome II Regulation

This blog post is a follow up to my earlier announcement on the decision of Owen v Galgey [2020] EHWC 3546 (QB).

Introduction

Cross border relations is bound to generate non-contractual disputes such as personal injury cases. In such situations, the law that applies is very important in determining the rights and obligations of the parties. The difference between two or more potentially applicable laws is of considerable significance for the parties involved in the case. For example a particular law may easily hold one party liable and/or provide a higher quantum of damages compared to another law. Thus, a preliminary decision on the applicable law could easily facilitate the settlement of the dispute between the parties without even going to trial.

Rome II Regulation[1] governs matters of non-contractual obligations. Article 4 of Rome II applies to general torts/delicts such as personal injury cases. It provides that:

Álvarez-Armas on potential human-rights-related amendments to the Rome II Regulation (II): The proposed Art. 6a; Art. 7 is dead, long live Article 7?

Eduardo Álvarez-Armas is Lecturer in Law at Brunel University London and Affiliated Researcher at the Université Catholique de Louvain. He has kindly provided us with his thoughts on recent proposals for amending the Rome II Regulation. This is the second part of his contribution; a first one on the law applicable to strategic lawsuits against public participation can be found here.

Over the last few months, the European Parliament´s draft report on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability (2020/2129(INL)) and the proposal for an EU Directive contained therein have gathered a substantial amount of attention (see, amongst others, blog entries by Geert Van Calster, Giesela Rühl, Jan von Hein, Bastian Brunk and Chris Thomale). As the debate is far from being exhausted, I would like to contribute my two cents thereto with some further (non-exhaustive and brief) considerations which will be limited to three selected aspects of the proposal´s choice-of-law dimension.

  1. A welcome but not unique initiative (Comparison with the UN draft Treaty)

In Memoriam – Alegría Borrás Rodríguez (1943-2020)

written by Cristina González Beilfuss and Marta Pertegás Sender

It is with deep sadness that we write these lines to honour the memory of our dear mentor Alegría Borrás. Alegría unexpectedly passed away at the end of last year and, although she had been battling cancer for a while, she continued working as always. For Alegría was a hardworking fighter who sought and found her notorious place in life with determination, courage and borderless efforts. We believe we speak here for so many of Alegría’s alumni who miss her deeply and are determined to pay tribute to her memory with our work and memories.

‘Legal identity’, statelessness, and private international law

Guest post by Bronwen Manby, Senior Policy Fellow and Guest Teacher, LSE Human Rights, London School of Economics.

In 2014, UNHCR launched a ten-year campaign to end statelessness by 2024. A ten-point global action plan called, among other things, for universal birth registration.  One year later, in September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an ambitious set of objectives for international development to replace and expand upon the 15-year-old Millennium Development Goals.  Target 16.9 under Goal 16 requires that states shall, by 2030, ‘provide legal identity for all, including birth registration’. The SDG target reflects a recently consolidated consensus among development professionals on the importance of robust government identification systems.

Birth registration, the protection of identity, and the right to a nationality are already firmly established as rights in international human rights law – with most universal effect by the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which every state in the world apart from the USA is a party. Universal birth registration, ‘the continuous, permanent, compulsory and universal recording within the civil registry of the occurrence and characteristics of birth, in accordance with the national legal requirements’, is already a long-standing objective of UNICEF and other agencies concerned with child welfare. There is extensive international guidance on the implementation of birth registration, within a broader framework of civil registration.

In a recent article published in the Statelessness and Citizenship Review I explore the potential impact of SDG ‘legal identity’ target on the resolution of statelessness. Like the UNHCR global action plan to end statelessness, the paper emphasises the important contribution that universal birth registration would make to ensuring respect for the right to a nationality. Although birth registration does not (usually) record nationality or legal status in a country, it is the most authoritative record of the information on the basis of which nationality, and many other rights based on family connections, may be claimed.

Álvarez-Armas on potential human-rights-related amendments to the Rome II Regulation (I): The law applicable to SLAPPs

Eduardo Álvarez-Armas is Lecturer in Law at Brunel University London and Affiliated Researcher at the Université Catholique de Louvain. He has kindly provided us with his thoughts on recent proposals for amending the Rome II Regulation. This is the first part of his contribution; a second one on corporate social responsibility will follow in the next days.

 

On December the 3rd, 2020, the EU commission published a call for applications, with a view to putting forward, by late 2021, a (legislative or non-legislative) initiative to curtail “abusive litigation targeting journalists and civil society”. As defined in the call, strategic lawsuits against public participation (commonly abbreviated as SLAPPs) “are groundless or exaggerated lawsuits, initiated by state organs, business corporations or powerful individuals against weaker parties who express, on a matter of public interest, criticism or communicate messages which are uncomfortable to the litigants”. As their core objective is to silence critical voices, SLAPPs are frequently grounded on defamation claims, but they may be articulated through other legal bases (as “data protection, blasphemy, tax laws, copyright, trade secret breaches”, etc) (p. 1).

The stakes at play are major: beyond an immediate limitation or suppression of open debate and public awareness over matters that are of significant societal interest, the economic pressure arising from SLAPPs can “drown” defendants, whose financial resources are oftentimes very limited. Just to name but a few recent SLAPP examples (For further review of cases throughout the EU see: Greenpeace European Unit [O. Reyes, rapporteur], “Sued into silence – How the rich and powerful use legal tactics to shut critics up”, Brussels, July 2020, p. 18ff): at the time of her murder in 2017, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was facing over 40 civil and criminal defamation lawsuits, including a 40-million US dollar lawsuit in Arizona filed by Pilatus Bank (Greenpeace European Unit [O. Reyes, rapporteur], pp. 9-12); in 2020, a one million euros lawsuit was introduced against Spanish activist Manuel García for stating in a TV program that the poor livestock waste management of meat-producing company “Coren” was the cause for the pollution of the As Conchas reservoir in the Galicia region.

Insights into ERA Seminar on Privacy and Data Protection with a Specific Focus on “Balance between Data Retention for Law Enforcement Purposes and Right to Privacy” (Conference Report)

This report has been prepared by Priyanka Jain, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law, and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Luxembourg.

 

Introduction:

 

On 9-11 December 2020, ERA – the Academy of European Law – organized an online seminar on “Privacy and Data Protection: Recent ECtHR & CJEU Case Law”.  The core of the seminar was to provide an update on the case law developed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) with relevance for privacy and data protection law since 2019. The key issues discussed were the distinction between the right to privacy and data protection in the jurisprudence of the ECtHR and CJEU, the impact of the jurisprudence on international data transfers, notions of ‘essence of fundamental rights’ ‘personal data processing’, ‘valid consent’ and so on.

Walking Solo – A New Path for the Conflict of Laws in England

Written by Andrew Dickinson (Fellow, St Catherine’s College and Professor of Law, University of Oxford)

The belated conclusion of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement did not dampen the impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union on judicial co-operation in civil matters between the UK’s three legal systems and those of the 27 remaining Members of the Union. At the turn of the year, the doors to the UK’s participation in the Recast Brussels I Regulation and the 2007 Lugano Convention closed. With no signal that the EU-27 will support the UK’s swift readmission to the latter, a new era for private international law in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland beckons.

The path that the United Kingdom has chosen to take allows it, and its constituent legal systems, to shape conflict of laws rules to serve the interests that they consider important and to form new international relationships, unfettered by the EU’s legislative and treaty making competences. This liberty will need to be exercised wisely if the UK’s legal systems are to maintain their positions in the global market for international dispute resolution, or at least mitigate any adverse impacts of the EU exit and the odour of uncertainty in the years following the 2016 referendum vote.

As the guidance recently issued by the Ministry of Justice makes clear, the UK’s detachment from the Brussels-Lugano regime will magnify the significance of the rules of jurisdiction formerly applied in cases falling under Art 4 of the Regulation (Art 2 of the Convention), as well as the common law rules that apply to the recognition and enforcement of judgments in the absence of a treaty relationship. This is a cause for concern, as those rules are untidy and ill-suited for the 21st century.