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. (more…)


ASADIP & UNCITRAL: Today preparatory conference on UNCITRAL Day

Today (9 November 2020) ASADIP and UNCITRAL are organising a preparatory conference to the first edition of UNCITRAL Day in Latin America and the Caribbean region (UNCITRAL LAC DAY 2020 la primera edición del Día de UNCITRAL en América Latina y el Caribe). For more information see here. Free registration here. For other events on UNCITRAL Day click here.

AMEDIP: The programme of its XLIII Seminar is now available

The programme of the XLIII Seminar of the Mexican Academy of Private International and Comparative Law (AMEDIP) is now available here. As previously announced, the XLIII Seminar will take place on 19-20 November 2020 for the first time online.

Among the topics to be discussed are the 1996 HCCH Child Protection Convention, the 1980 HCCH Child Abduction Convention, the 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention, the 2005 HCCH Choice of Court Convention, the HCCH Guide to Good Practice on the Use of Video-link, Human rights and PIL, the brand-new T-MEC / US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), digital justice, COVID-19, and alternative dispute resolution.

The meeting will be held via Zoom.

Access details:
ID: 555 456 3931
Password:  00000

It will also be transmitted live via AMEDIP’s Facebook page.

Participation is free of charge. The language of the seminar will be Spanish.

Workshop 26-27 November: The Development of Private International Law in the UK post Brexit

Professor Paul Beaumont (University of Stirling), Dr Mihail Danov (University of Exeter) and Dr Jayne Holliday (University of Stirling) are delighted to be able to host the final AHRC funded Research Network workshop in partnership with the Journal of Private International Law.

  • Online Workshop via Microsoft teams
  • The Link to the event will be provided shortly.
  • The workshop is over two days, Thursday 26th November and Friday 27th November

Please note that you are welcome to attend as much or as little of the workshop as you are able.

Programme for Thursday 26 November 2020

Chair – Professor Paul Beaumont (University of Stirling and co-editor of the Journal of Private International Law)

10.00-10.30 The Opportunities of Brexit for the development of Private International Law in the Commonwealth