Japanese Supreme Court Renders Decision on Hague Abduction Convention

On December 21, 2017, the Japanese Supreme Court rendered a decision on the Hague Abduction Convention.  The Court upheld a lower court decision in favor of the Japanese mother, even though she  had turned back on her promise to return the kids from a visit to Japan, and even though that same court had earlier issued a return order in favor of the American father. The matter had received international press attention, and even a Congressional subcommittee hearing.

Japan had long refused to join the Hague Convention, and when it did, in 2014, critical observers already expected that courts would find ways to undermine it. Those observers see themselves vindicated.

Colin Jones reports critically on the decision; he has previously written on Japan’s joining the Convention and on reluctance to enforce it. Useful background from the Law Library of Congress is here.

Japanese accession to the Convention has been a frequent scholarly topic, both in Japan and elsewhere. Yuko Nishitani, who had already written about “International Child Abduction in Japan” in (2006) 8 Yearbook of  Private International Law 125-143, and who wrote a long report (in Japanese) for the Japanese Ministry in 2010, provided a brief  analysis in 2011.  Dai Yokomizo discussed the accession in (2012) Revue critique 799; Jun Yokohama did so in the Mélanges van Loon (2013, pp 661-72).  Vol. 57 (2014) of the Japanese Yearbook of International Law contains articles by Tatsuki Nishioka and Takako Tsujisaka, Masayuki Tanamura, Masako Murakami, Martina Erb-Klünemann, and Nigel Vaughan Lowe.  Takeshi Hamano helpfully explains the Japanese reluctance with regard to the Japanese ideology of the family. Outside of Japanese authors, Barbara Stark and Paul Hanley wrote most recently in the United States; the topic is also addressed in several student  notes. The accession was also discussed by Bengt Schwemann (in German) and Francisco Barberán Pelegrín (in Spanish).

 

 

 

 

 

UKSC on Traditional Rules of Jurisdiction: Brownlie v Four Seasons Holdings Incorporated

Shortly before Christmas the UKSC released its decision on jurisdiction in Brownlie v Four Seasons Holdings Incorporated (available here). Almost all the legal analysis is obiter dicta because, on the facts, it emerges that no claim against the British Columbia-based holding corporation could succeed (para 15) and the appeal is allowed on that basis. I suppose there is a back story as to why it took a trip to the UKSC and an extraordinary step by that court (para 14) for the defendant to make those facts clear, but I don’t know what it is. On the facts there are other potential defendants to the plaintiffs’ claim and time will tell whether jurisdictional issues arise for them.

The discussion of the value of the place of making a contract for jurisdiction purposes is noteworthy. In para 16 two of the judges (Sumption, Hughes) are critical of using the traditional common law rules on where a contract is made for purposes of taking jurisdiction. This has been the subject of debate in some recent Canadian decisions, notably the difference in approach between the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada in Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melançon LLP v Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, 2016 SCC 30 (available here). The SCC was fine with using the traditional rules for this purpose. In Brownlie, I do not think it is clear as to what view the other three judges take on this point.

Conflicts – Between Domestic and Indigenous Legal Systems?

In Beaver v Hill, 2017 ONSC 7245 (available here) the applicant sought custody, spousal support and child support. All relevant facts happened in Ontario. Read more

NIKI continued (now in Austria)

Written by Lukas Schmidt, Research Fellow at the Center for Transnational Commercial Dispute Resolution (TCDR) of the EBS Law School, Wiesbaden, Germany

The Regional Court Korneuburg has opened a main insolvency proceeding – not a secondary insolvency proceeding that the German provisional administrator has applied for – on the assets of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH in Austria (see here). Therefore, it obviously shares the view of the Regional Court of Berlin that NIKI’s COMI is located in Austria and not Germany. Read more

US Court Refused to Apply the Chosen Chinese Law due to Public Policy Concern

In Fu v. Fu, 2017 IL App (1st) 162958-U, a father brought a claim against his son to revoke an unconditional gift of $590,000 that he donated to his son for the later to pursue an EB-5 Visa to immigrate to the US. Both parties are Chinese citizens and the defendant is currently a resident of Massachusetts. The gift agreement was entered into in China, drafted in Chinese and contained a clause specifying PRC law should apply. The money was held by the International Bank of Chicago. The plaintiff brought the action in Illinois.

NIKI continued

Written by Lukas Schmidt, Research Fellow at the Center for Transnational Commercial Dispute Resolution (TCDR) of the EBS Law School, Wiesbaden, Germany

The Spanish airline Vueling Airlines S.A. is still intending to acquire large parts of the NIKI business. Vueling is part of the European aviation group IAG, which also includes British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and LEVEL. The provisional insolvency administrator of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH, therefore, will continue to drive forward the sales process. Vueling has provided interim financing of up to € 16.5 million to finance the NIKI business until the closing of the purchase agreement. This funding is only sufficient for a few weeks. Read more

NIKI, COMI, Air Berlin and Art. 5 EIR recast

Written by Lukas Schmidt, Research Fellow at the Center for Transnational Commercial Dispute Resolution (TCDR) of the EBS Law School, Wiesbaden, Germany.

The Regional Court of Berlin has, on the basis of the immediate appeal against the order of the provisional insolvency administration on the assets of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH (under Austrian law), repealed the decision of the District Court of Charlottenburg (see here) as it finds that international jurisdiction lies with Austrian and not German courts. In its decision, the regional court has dealt with the definition of international jurisdiction, which is based on the debtor’s centre of main interests (‘COMI’). According to the provisions of the European Insolvency Regulation, that is the place where the debtor usually conducts the administration of its interests and that is ascertainable by third parties. Read more

Implementation of the EAPO in Greece

By virtue of Article 42 Law 4509/2017, a new provision has been added to the Code of Civil Procedure, bearing the title of the EU Regulation. Article 738 A CCP features 6 paragraphs, which are (partially) fulfilling the duty of the Hellenic Republic under Article 50 EAPO. In brief the provision states the following:

  • 1: The competent courts to issue a EAPO are the Justice of the Peace for those disputes falling under its subject matter jurisdiction, and the One Member 1st Instance Court  for the remaining disputes. It is noteworthy that the provision does not refer to the court, but to its respective judge, which implies that no oral hearing is needed.
  • 2: The application is dismissed, if

Mutual Recognition and Enforcement of Civil and Commercial Judgments among China (PRC), Japan and South Korea

Written by Dr. Wenliang Zhang, Lecturer in the Law School of Renmin U, China (PRC)

Against the lasting global efforts to address the issue of recognition and enforcement of civil and commercial judgments (“REJ”), some scholars from Mainland China, Japan and South Korea echoed from a regional level, and convened for a seminar on “Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments between China, Japan and South Korea in the New Era”. The seminar was held in School of Law of Renmin University of China on December 19, 2017 and the participants were involved in discussing in depth the status quo and the ways out in relation to the enduring REJ dilemma between the three jurisdictions, especially that between China and Japan. Read more

The ECtHR rules on the compatibility with the right to respect for private and family life of the refusal of registration of same-sex marriages contracted abroad

By a judgment Orlandi and Others v. Italy delivered on December 14 the ECtHR held that the lack of legal recognition of same sex unions in Italy violated the right to respect of private and family life of couples married abroad.

The case concerned the complaint of six same sex-couples married abroad (in Canada, California and the Netherlands). Italian authorities refused to register their marriages on the basis that registration would be contrary to public policy. They also refused to recognize them under any other form of union. The complaints were lodged prior to 2016, at a time when Italy did not have a legislation on same-sex unions.