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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.

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News

CJEU on application of the law of the forum under Article 10 of the Rome III Regulation: Case C-249/19, JE

Back in February we reported on the Opinion presented by Advocate General Tanchev in case C-249/19, JE. Today the Court of Justice rendered its Judgment in which it confirms the interpretation provided in the Opinion.

As a reminder, the question referred to the Court of Justice originated in the proceedings pending before the Romanian courts dealing with a petition for divorce. The parties to these proceedings are Romanian nationals, habitually resident in Italy.

In these circumstances, under Article 8(a) of the Rome III Regulation, it is a priori Italian law that governs the grounds of divorce. According to Italian law, the dissolution of marriage can be pronounced only where there had been a legal separation of the spouses and at least three years have passed between this separation and the time at which the court have been seized by the applicant.

Call for Papers: Public International Law and Private International Law: Charting a blurry boundary – towards convergence or still divergence?

This Call for Paper is for an edited volume, the working title of which is: Public International Law and Private International Law: Charting a blurry boundary – towards convergence or still divergence?

The editors, Dr Poomintr Sooksripaisarnkit (of the University of Tasmania) and Dharmita Prasad (of Jindal Global Law School), are in negotiation with Springer Nature Pte Ltd for this edited volume.

Both editors would like to invite you to contribute a chapter in this edited volume focusing on addressing intersectionality between public international law and private international law. Further details are provided in the concept note below.

Tentative Timeline:

From anti-suit injunctions to ‘quasi’ anti-suit injunctions and declaratory relief for breach of a choice of court agreement: a whiter shade of pale?

Nearly a year ago I reported on a Greek judgment refusing execution of two English orders issued on the basis of a High Court judgment which granted declaratory relief to the applicants. This came as a result of proceedings initiated in Greece, in breach of the settlement agreements and the exclusive jurisdiction clauses in favor of English courts. A recent judgment rendered by the same court confirmed the incidental recognition of the same High Court judgment, which resulted in the dismissal of the claim filed before Greek courts due to lack of jurisdiction.

Piraeus Court of Appeal Nr. 89/31.01.2020

THE FACTS

The facts of the case are clearly presented in the case Starlight Shipping Co v Allianz Marine & Aviation Versicherungs AG [2014] EWHC 3068 (Comm) (26 September 2014. The UK defendants invoked before the Piraeus first instance court the judgment aforementioned, and requested incidental recognition in Greece. The Piraeus court granted recognition, and dismissed the claim. The plaintiffs appealed, seeking reversal on two grounds: Lack of res iudicata and violation of Article 34 (1) Brussels I Regulation.

THE RULING

The Piraeus CoA founded its ruling on point 39 of the English judgment: