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EU Member State sees opportunities in Brexit: Belgium is establishing a new English-language commercial court

Expecting higher demands for international commercial dispute resolution following Britain’s departure from the EU, Belgium plans to set up a new English-language commercial court, the Brussels International Business Court (BIBC), to take cases away from the courts and tribunals in London. This decision was announced on 27 Oct 2017. This BIBC is designed to address disputes arising out of Brexit and major international commercial disputes. The court will take jurisdiction based on parties’ choice, and will do the hearing and deliver judgments in English. The parties would have no right to appeal. BIBC combines elements of both traditional courts and arbitration. See comments here.

Although Brexit may cause uncertainty to litigants in the UK, a survey suggests that the EU judicial cooperation scheme is not the main reason for international parties choosing London to resolve their disputes. The top two factors that attract international litigants to London are the reputation and experience of English judges and combination of choice of court clauses with choice of law clauses in favor of English law,  followed by efficient remedies, procedural effectiveness, neutrality of the forum, market practice, English language, effective UK-based counsel, speed and enforceability of judgments. Furthermore, Brexit will not affect the New York Convention and would less likely affect London as an arbitration centre. It may be more reasonable to suggest that the main purpose of BIBC is not to compete with London at the international level, but to offer additional judicial tool and become a new commercial dispute resolution centre within the EU to attract companies and businesses to Brussels.

CJEU on the place of the damage under Article 7(2) of Brussels Ia as regards violation of personality rights of a legal person

First personal impressions presented by Edina Márton, LLM, PhD (Saarbruecken)

For jurisdictional purposes, the localisation of cross-border violations of personality rights under European instruments, such as Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 (Brussels Ia), has attracted the attention of a considerable number of scholars and often led to different legal solutions in the national judicial practice. At EU level, besides Shevill (C-68/93; ECLI:EU:C:1995:61) as well as eDate and Martinez (C-509/09 and C-161/20; ECLI:EU:C:2011:685), since 17 October 2017, a third judgment in case Bolagsupplysningen (C-194/16; ECLI:EU:C:2017:766) has given further clarification in this area. In the recently delivered judgment, the ECJ specified one of the two limbs of the connecting factor “where the harmful event occurred or may occur” under Article 7(2) of Brussels Ia, namely the place of the alleged damage. (more…)

Is “la réserve héréditaire” part of French international public policy ?

Through two decisions (Civ. 1ère, 27 sept. 2017, n° 16-17198 et 16-13151) both issued on September 27th, The French Cour de cassation finally gave an answer to one of the most discussed question of French Succession law: Is la réserve héréditaire part of French international public policy?

The circumstances of both cases are very similar. Two French composers living in California, where they had most of their assets, got married respectively in 1984 and 1990. They put their assets in a trust and designated their wives as beneficiaries. In both cases, the settlers did not designate the children they had from previous relationships as beneficiaries of the trust. After the death of their fathers, the latter turned to French courts in order to obtain part of the inheritance. They argued that the Californian law applicable to the succession should be declared contrary to French international public policy for not including a réserve héréditaire for certain heirs.

According to Article 912 §1 of the French Civil Code, la réserve hérédiataire or the reserved portion « is that part of the assets and rights of the succession whose devolution, free of charge, the law assures to certain heirs, called forced heirs, if they are called to the succession and if they accept it ». In other words, under French succession law, a person cannot freely dispose of all of his or her assets. French law set boundaries by putting aside a reserved portion of the deceased’s property. However, he or she can freely dispose of the disposable portion (quotité disponible) which is defined as « that part of the assets and rights of the succession that is not reserved by law and of which the deceased can freely dispose by liberalities » (Article 912 § 2).

News

Now reviewed: new book (in Spanish) on surrogacy

written by Michael Wells-Greco

(Note: publication of this book was announced earlier.)

La gestación por sustitución en el derecho internacional privado y comparado

Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas UNAM – Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE)

México, 2020

This highly informative and timely book edited by María Mercedes Albornoz addresses the pressing challenges presented by surrogacy arrangements. With contributions from Nuria González Martín, Verónica Esparza, Ximena Medellín Urquiaga, Isabel Fulda, Rebeca Ramos, Regina Tamés, Mónica Velarde, Federico Notrica, Cristina González Beilfuss, Rosa Elvira Vargas, María Virginia Aguilar, Francisco López González, María Mercedes Albornoz and Nieve Rubaja, and a thought provoking preface by Eleonora Lamm,  this collection contains a remarkable wealth of comparative Ibero-America legal materials on surrogacy. While comparisons are made with the diverse national surrogacy approaches in other parts of the world, much of the comparative discussion centres on the experience of surrogacy in the Americas (in Mexico and Argentina, in particular). The careful analysis demonstrates the challenges for many states arising from surrogacy arrangements.

Hague Academy Centre for Studies and Research: Online Session on Epidemics and International Law

In lieu of its originally scheduled programme, the Hague Academy of International Law recently announced its first online programme, the invitation to which reads as follows:

The Hague Academy of International Law is pleased to announce the launch of its very first online programme: an entirely online session of its Centre for Studies and Research. This session will take place between September 1st, 2020, and June 1st, 2021, on the theme of Epidemics and International Law.  The working language will be English.

The Directors of Research, Professor Shinya Murase (Sophia University, Tokyo) & Ms. Suzanne Zhou (McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, Melbourne) invite applications from researchers including students in the final phase of their doctoral studies, holders of advanced degrees in law, political science, or other related disciplines, early-stage professors and legal practitioners.