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‘Private International Law Online. Internet Regulation and Civil Liability in the EU’: A new volume by Tobias Lutzi

A comprehensive and innovative volume by Tobias Lutzi was recently released providing a dedicated analysis of the EU private international law framework as it applies to online activities and to the civil liability arising therefrom. The volume is a welcome addition to Oxford University Press’s already thriving ‘Oxford Private International Law Series’.

Linking the question of the role of private international law in addressing the challenges brought forth by the Internet to the broader debate about the potential of private international law in conflicts regulation and resolution, the Author identifies in the Internet’s independence from State border and in the prevalence of private ordering the two key challenges for private international law vis-à-vis civil liability arising from online activities.

Australian Information Commission v Facebook Inc: Substituting the Hague Service Convention during the Pandemic?

by Jie (Jeanne) Huang, Associate Professor of the University of Sydney Law School, Jeanne.huang@sydney.edu.au

Recently, in Australian Information Commission v Facebook Inc ([2020] FCA 531), the Federal Court of Australia (‘FCA’) addresses substituted service and the Hague Service Convention in the contexts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This case is important on whether defendants located outside of Australia in a Hague Convention state can be served by substituted service instead of following the Convention.

1. Facts:

Facebook Inc is a US company (‘Facebook US’) and Facebook Ireland is incorporated in Ireland. Due to the Analytica scandal, the office of the Australian Information Commission has investigated Facebook since April 2018 and hauled Facebook into the FCA on 9 March 2020.[1] According to the Commission, Facebook Inc and Facebook Ireland breached the Privacy Act (Cth) from 12 March 2014 to 1 May 2015.

Both defendants appointed King & Wood Mallesons (‘KWM’) to respond to the Commission’s inquiries before the FCA proceeding was initiated. However, KWM indicated that it had no instructions to accept the service of the originating process.

Consequently, the Commission sought orders under Federal Court Rules (‘FCR’) 2011 rr 10.42 and 10.43(2) for leave to serve Facebook US and Facebook Ireland through the central authorities according to Article 5 of the Hague Convention and by substituted service under r 10.24. The proposed substituted service was to email the judicial documents to the named persons at KWM and the Head of Data Protection and Privacy and Associate General Counsel at Facebook Ireland.

2. Ruling

Call for Papers: Third German-Speaking Conference for Young Scholars in PIL

Following successful events in Bonn and Würzburg, the third iteration of the conference for young German-speaking scholars in private international law will take place – hopefully as one of the first events post-Corona – on 18 and 19 March 2021 at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg. The conference will focus on the theme of PIL for a better world: Vision – Reality – Aberration?; it will include a keynote by Angelika Nußberger, former judge at the European Court of Human Rights, and a panel discussion between Roxana Banu, Hans van Loon, and Ralf Michaels.

The organisers are inviting contributions that explore any aspect of the conference theme, which can be submitted until 20 September 2020. The call for papers and further information can be found on the conference website.