The Justice Initiative Frankfurt am Main 2017

Written by Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Burkhard Hess, Executive Director Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law

Against the backdrop of Brexit, an initiative has been launched to strengthen Frankfurt as a hot spot for commercial litigation in the European Judicial Area. On March 30, 2017, the Minister of Justice of the Federal State Hessen, Ms Kühne-Hörmann, organized a conference at which the Justice Initiative was presented. More  than 120 stakeholders (lawyers, judges, businesses) attended the conference. The original paper was elaborated by Professors Burkhard Hess (Luxembourg), Thomas Pfeiffer (Heidelberg), Christian Duve (Heidelberg) and Roman Poseck (President of the Frankfurt Court of Appeal). Here, we are pleased to provide an English translation of the position paper with some additional information on German procedural law for an international audience. The proposal has, as a matter of principle, been endorsed by the Minister of Justice. Its proposals are now being discussed and shall be implemented in the next months to come. The paper reads as follows: (more…)

Paris, the Jurisdiction of Choice?

On January 17th, the President of the Paris Commercial Court (Tribunal de commerce) inaugurated a new international division.

The new division, which is in fact the 3rd division of the court (3ème Chambre), is to be staffed with nine judges who speak foreign languages, and will therefore be able to assess evidence written in a foreign language. For now, the languages will be English, German and Spanish, as one juge speaking Spanish and two speaking German are currently on the court.

In an interview to the Fondation de droit continental (Civil law initiative), the President of the Court explained that the point was to make French justice more competitive and attract international cases. It also made clear that France was following Germany’s lead, where several international divisions were established in 2009 in Hamburg and Cologne.

French Commercial Courts

It should be pointed out to readers unfamiliar with the French legal system that French commercial courts are not staffed with professional judges, but with members of the business community working part-time at the court (and for free). In Paris, however, many of these judges work in the legal department of their company, and are thus fine lawyers.

Also, French commercial courts (and French civil courts generally) virtually never hear witnesses, so the issue of the language in which they may address the court does not arise.

Some issues

So, the new international division will be able to read documents in several foreign languages. However, nothing suggests that parties or lawyers will be able either to speak, or to write pleadings, in any other language than French. Lawyers arguing these cases will still need to file their pleadings in French, and thus to translate them in English beforehand for their clients. Furthermore, the interview of the Court’s President seems to suggest that using a foreign language will not be a right for the parties. Quite to the contrary, it seems that it will not be possible if one of the parties disagrees, and demands documents be translated in French.

Will that be enough to attract additional commercial cases to Paris?

I wonder whether introducing class actions in French civil procedure would have been more efficient in this respect.

For the full interview of the Court’s President, see after the jump.



The COVID pandemic: Time to ‘ramp-up’ India’s conflict of law rules in matters of tort? (by Kashish Jaitley, Niharika Kuchhal and Saloni Khanderia)

Research demonstrates that the permanent income loss for the Asia-Pacific region, including India, from the impact of COVID-19 to be $620 billion as of March 24, 2020. It is undeniable that the pandemic has not only resulted in the loss of human health and life but has also adversely affected the Indian economy. A United Nations labour report states that the Coronavirus has impacted tens of millions of informal sector workers as of 8th April 2020, and is predicted to put around 2 billion more people at risk. The Indian economy has been severely hit since most of the Indian population consists of daily wage workers. On 24th March 2020, the Prime Minister invoked his powers under Sec.6(2)(i) of the National Disaster Management Act, 2005, to enforce a lockdown for an initial period of 21 days in the country with effect from 25th March 2020. The “total” lockdown has now been extended until 3 May 2020 and, will be treated under force majeure as per the Government order. The current scenario where India is put under what is reported to be the “world’s most stringent lockdown” (also referred to as Lockdown 2.0) has forced millions of persons out of work, with the hardest hit being the poor, including the daily wage earners and migrant workers. Besides, airports, private clinics and most other shops providing daily essentials have shut.

Journal of Private International Law: Issue 1/2020

The latest issue of Journal of Private International Law is out. It features the following articles:

Matthias Lehmann – Regulation, global governance and private international law: squaring the triangle

Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts (IPRax) 2/2020: Abstracts

The latest issue of the „Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts (IPRax)“ features the following articles:

H.-P. Mansel/K. Thorn/R. Wagner: European Conflict of Law 2019: Consolidation and multilateralisation

This article provides an overview of developments in Brussels in the field of judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters from January/February 2019 until November 2019. It provides an overview of newly adopted legal instruments and summarizes current projects that are presently making their way through the EU legislative process. It also refers to the laws enacted at the national level in Germany as a result of new European instruments. Furthermore, the authors look at areas of law where the EU has made use of its external competence. They discuss important decisions of the CJEU. In addition, the article looks at current projects and the latest developments at the Hague Conference of Private International Law.