The CJEU settles the issue of characterising the surviving spouse’s share of the estate in the context of the Succession Regulation

It has not been yet noted on this blog that the CJEU has recently settled a classic problem of characterisation that has plagued German courts and academics for decades (CJEU, 1 March 2018 – C-558/16, Mahnkopf, ECLI:EU:C:2018:138). The German statutory regime of matrimonial property is a community of accrued gains, i.e. that each spouse keeps its own property, but gains that have been made during the marriage are equalised when the marriage ends, i.e. by a divorce or by the death of one spouse. According to § 1371(1) of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch – BGB), the equalisation of the accrued gains shall be effected by increasing the surviving spouse’s share of the estate on intestacy by one quarter of the estate if the property regime is ended by the death of a spouse; it is irrelevant in this regard whether the spouses have made accrued gains in the individual case. How is this claim to be characterized? Read more

Torture, Universal Civil Jurisdiction and Forum Necessitatis: Naït-Litman v. Switzerland before the ECtHR

On March 15 the ECtHR, sitting as the Grand Chamber,decided on the Naït-Litman v. Switzerland case (application no. 51357/07), against the applicant and his claim of violation of Article 6 ECHR. Independently on whether one agrees or not  with the final outcome, for PIL lawyers and amateurs the judgment (for very busy people at least the press release) is certainly worth reading. Read more

The Pitfalls of International Insolvency and State Interventionism in Slovenia

Written by Dr. Jorg Sladic, Attorney in Ljubljana and Assistant Professor in Maribor (Slovenia)

The most interesting development in European private international law and European insolvency law seems the Croatian AGROKOR case. Rulings of English courts have been reported (see e.g. Prof. Van Calster’s blog, Agrokor DD – Recognition of Croatian proceedings shows the impact of Insolvency Regulation’s Annex A.)[1] However, a new and contrary development seems to be an order by the Slovenian Supreme Court in case Cpg 2/2018 of 14 March 2018.[2] Read more

Krombach: The Final Curtain

Readers of this blog may be interested to learn that the well-known (and, in many ways, quite depressing) Krombach/Bamberski saga appears to have finally found its conclusion with a decision by the European Court of Human Rights (Krombach v France, App no 67521/14) that was given yesterday. Read more

Cross-border Human Rights and Environmental Damages Litigation in Europe: Recent Case Law in the UK

Over the last few years, litigation in European courts against gross human rights violations and widespread environmental disasters has intensified. Recent case law shows that victims domiciled in third States often attempt to sue the local subsidiary and/or its parent company in Europe, which corresponds to the place where the latter is seated. In light of this, national courts of the EU have been asked to determine whether the parent company located in a Member State may serve as an anchor defendant for claims against its subsidiary – sometimes with success, sometimes not:

Draft Withdrawal Agreement, Continued

It is not quite orthodox to follow on oneself’s post, but I decided to make it as a short answer to some emails I got since yesterday. I do not know why Article 63 has not been agreed upon, although if I had to bet I would say: too complicated a provision. There is much too much in there, in a much too synthetic form; per se this does not necessarily lead to a bad outcome , but here… it looks like, rather. Just an example: Article 63 refers sometimes to provisions, some other to Chapters, and some to complete Regulations. Does it mean that “provisions regarding jurisdiction” are just the grounds for jurisdiction, without the lis pendens rules (for instance), although they are in the same Chapter of Brussels I bis?

Draft Withdrawal Agreement 19 March 2018: Still a Way to Go

Today, the European Union and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement on the transition period for Brexit: from March 29 of next year, date of disconnection, until December 31, 2020. The news are of course available in the press, and the Draft Withdrawal Agreement of 19 March 2018 has already been published… coloured: In green, the text is agreed at negotiators’ level and will only be subject to technical legal revisions in the coming weeks. In yellow, the text is agreed on the policy objective but drafting changes or clarifications are still required. In white, the text corresponds to text proposed by the Union on which discussions are ongoing as no agreement has yet been found. For ongoing judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters (Title VI of Part III, to be applied from December 31, 2020: see Art. 168), this actually means that subject to “technical legal revisions”, the following has been accepted:

  • Art. 62: The EU and the UK are in accordance as to the application by the latter (no need to mention the MS for obvious reasons) of the Rome I and Rome II regulations to contracts concluded before the end of the transition period, and in respect of events giving rise to damage, and which occurred before the end of the transition period.

Religious Conversion and Custody – Important New Decision by the Malaysian Federal Court

A saga that has kept Malaysians engaged for years has finally founds its conclusion. A woman, named (rather improbably, at least for European observers) Indira Gandhi, was fighting with her ex husband over custody. The ex-husband had converted to Islam and had extended the conversion to their three children, with the consequence that the Syariah courts gave him sole custody. What followed was a whole series of court decisions by civil courts on the one hand and Syariah courts on the other, focusing mainly on the jurisdictional question which set of courts gets to decide matters of religious status and which law—Islamic law or civil law—determines the question. The Malaysian Federal Court now quashed the conversion as regards the children, thereby claiming, at least for children, a priority of the Constitution and the jurisdiction of civil courts.

Mutual trust and judicial cooperation in the EU’s external relations – the blind spot in the EU’s Foreign Trade and Private International Law policy?

Further to the splendid conference How European is European Private International Law? at Berlin on 2 and 3 March 2018, I would like to add some thoughts on an issue that was briefly raised by our fellow editor Pietro Franzina in his truly excellent conference presentation on “The relationship between EU and international Private International Law instruments”. Pietro rightly observed an “increased activity on the external side”, meaning primarily the EU’s PIL activities on the level of the Hague Conference.

At the same time, there seems to be still a blind spot for the EU’s Private International Law policy when it comes to the design of the EU’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Although there is an increasingly large number of such agreements and although “trade is no longer just about trade” (DG Trade) but additionally about exchange or even export of values such as “sustainability”, human rights, labour and environmental standards and the rule of law, there seems to be no policy by DG Trade to include in its many FTAs a Chapter on judicial cooperation with the EU’s respective external trade partners.

To my knowledge there are only the following recent exceptions: The Association Agreements with Georgia and Moldova. Both Agreements entered into force on 1 July 2016.

How European is European Private International Law? – Impressions from Berlin

Written by Tobias Lutzi, DPhil Candidate and Stipendiary Lecturer at the University of Oxford

Last weekend, more than a hundred scholars of private international law followed the invitation of Jürgen Basedow, Jan von Hein, Eva-Maria Kieninger, and Giesela Rühl to discuss the ‘Europeanness’ of European private international law. Despite the adverse weather conditions, only a small number of participants from the UK – whose presence was missed all the more dearly – were unable to make it to Berlin. Thus, the Goethe-Saal of the Max Planck Society’s Harnack House was packed, and so was the conference programme, which spanned over two full days. Read more