A European Law Reading of Achmea

Written by Prof. Burkhard Hess, Max Planck Institute Luxembourg.

An interesting perspective concerning the Achmea judgment of the ECJ[1] relates to the way how the Court addresses investment arbitration from the perspective of European Union law. This paper takes up the judgment from this perspective. There is no doubt that Achmea will disappoint many in the arbitration world who might read it paragraph by paragraph while looking for a comprehensive line of arguments. Obviously, some paragraphs of the judgment are short (maybe because they were shortened during the deliberations) and it is much more the outcome than the line of arguments that counts. However, as many judgments of the ECJ, it is important to read the decision in context. In this respect, there are several issues to be highlighted here: Read more

CJEU on the compatibility with EU law of an arbitration clause in an Intra-EU BIT – Case C-284/16 (Slovak Republic v Achmea BV)

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

Today, the CJEU has rendered its judgement in Slovak Republic v Achmea BV (Case C-284/16). The case concerned the compatibility with EU law of a dispute clause in an Intra-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between the Netherlands and the Slovak Republic which grants an investor the right to bring proceedings against the host state (in casu: the Slovak Republic) before an arbitration tribunal. In concrete terms, the German Federal Court of Justice referred the following three questions to the CJEU (reported here): Read more

The impact of Brexit on the operation of the EU legislative measures in the field of private international law

On 28 February 2018, the European Commission published the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK, based on the Joint Report from the negotiators of the two parties on the progress achieved during the first phase of the Brexit negotiations.

The draft includes a Title VI which specifically relates to judicial cooperation in civil matters. The four provisions in this Title are concerned with the fate of the legislative measures enacted by the EU in this area (and binding on the UK) once the “transition of period” will be over (that is, on 31 December 2020, as stated in Article 121 of the draft).

Article 62 of the draft provides that, in the UK, the Rome I Regulation on the law applicable to contracts and the Rome II Regulation on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations will apply, respectively, “in respect of contracts concluded before the end of the transition period” and “in respect of events giving rise to damage which occurred before the end of the transition period”.

The domino effect of international commercial courts in Europe – Who’s next?

Written by Georgia Antonopoulou and Erlis Themeli, Erasmus University Rotterdam (PhD candidate and postdoc researchers ERC project Building EU Civil Justice)

On February 7, 2018 the French Minister of Justice inaugurated the International Commercial Chamber within the Paris Court of Appeals following up on a 2017 report of the Legal High Committee for Financial Markets of Paris (Haut Comité Juridique de la Place Financière de Paris HCJP, see here). As the name suggests, this newly established division will handle disputes arising from international commercial contracts (see here). Looking backwards, the creation of the International Commercial Chamber does not come as a surprise.  It offers litigants the option to lodge an appeal against decisions of the International Chamber of the Paris Commercial Court (see previous post) before a specialized division and thus complements this court on a second instance. Read more

Court of Appeal of Ljubljana and implied consent to application of Slovenian law by not- contesting the application of Slovenian law in first and in appellate instance

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

In judgment of 25 October 2017 in case I Cpg 1084/2016 (ECLI:SI:VSLJ:2017:I.CPG.1084.2016) published on 31 January 2018 the Slovenian Appellate Court ruled on a question of implied consent to application of Slovenian law. Read more

Fifty Shades of (Facebook) Blue – ECJ Renders Decision on Consumer Jurisdiction and Assigned Claims in Case C-498/16 Schrems v Facebook

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

Yesterday, the ECJ has rendered its decision in Case C-498/16 Maximilian Schrems v Facebook Ireland Limited. The case will be of interest to many readers of this blog as its facts are not only closely linked to the ECJ’s well-known decision in Case C-362/14 Schrems but also could have come straight out of a conflict-of-laws textbook.

Maximilian Schrems has been litigating against Facebook and the way in which the company uses the personal data of its users since 2011, when he first submitted a range of complaints to the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. In 2013, he submitted another complaint, which ultimately lead to the annulment of the ‘Safe Harbour’ framework between the EU and the US in the aforementioned decision; the proceedings continued with a reformulated version of this complaint and have recently been referred to the ECJ for a second time. Over the course of this litigation, Schrems built a reputation as a privacy activist, publishing two books, giving talks and lectures, and founding a non-profit organisation that uses ‘targeted and strategic litigation’ to enforce privacy and data protection laws across Europe.

Sharia law in Greece: Blending European values with Islamic tradition

The Hellenic Republic is the sole EU Member State which provides for the application of Sharia law in its territory for more than a century. A recent amendment is granting Greek Moslems the right to opt-out, and resort to domestic civil law. At the same time, the new law respects the right to opt-in for the application of Sharia law, upon the condition of mutual agreement between the parties.

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