The ECtHR rules on the compatibility with the right to respect for private and family life of the refusal of registration of same-sex marriages contracted abroad

By a judgment Orlandi and Others v. Italy delivered on December 14 the ECtHR held that the lack of legal recognition of same sex unions in Italy violated the right to respect of private and family life of couples married abroad.

The case concerned the complaint of six same sex-couples married abroad (in Canada, California and the Netherlands). Italian authorities refused to register their marriages on the basis that registration would be contrary to public policy. They also refused to recognize them under any other form of union. The complaints were lodged prior to 2016, at a time when Italy did not have a legislation on same-sex unions.

Functioning of the ODR Platform: EU Commission Publishes First Results

Written by Emma van Gelder and Alexandre Biard, Erasmus University Rotterdam (PhD and postdoc researchers ERC project Building EU Civil Justice)

On 13 December 2017, the European Commission published a report on the functioning of the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform for consumer disputes, and the findings of a web-scraping exercise of EU traders’ websites that investigated traders’ compliance with their information obligations vis-à-vis consumers. (more…)

Conference Report: Contracts for the Supply of Digital Content and Digital Services, A legal debate on the proposed directive, ERA Brussels, 22 November 2017

Written by Antonella Nolten, Research Fellow at the EBS Law School, Wiesbaden, Germany

On 22 November 2017 the Academy of European Law (ERA) hosted a conference on the recent developments on the Proposal for a Digital Content Directive in Brussels. (more…)


Today is the 40th Anniversary of the HCCH Child Abduction Convention – A time for celebration but also a time for reflection

Today (25 October 2020) is the 40th Anniversary of the HCCH Child Abduction Convention. With more than 100 Contracting Parties, the HCCH Child Abduction Convention is one of the most successful Conventions of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). As indicated in the title, this is a time for celebration but also a time for reflection. The Child Abduction Convention faces several challenges, some of which have been highlighted in this blog. The most salient one is that primary carers (usually mothers) are now the main abductors, which many argue was not the primary focus of the deliberations in the late 70s and that the drafters assumed that primarily (non-custodial) fathers were the abductors. See the most recent statistical analysis by Nigel Lowe and Victoria Stephens (year: 2015 applications), where it shows that 73% of the abductors were mothers (most primary or joint-primary carers) and 24% were fathers.

A related issue is that custody laws continue to change and are granting custody rights to non-primary carers (e.g. unmarried fathers, ne exeat clauses, etc.), which expands the scope of the Child Abduction Convention. There is also a growing trend of joint parenting.

Another challenge is the increasing importance of human rights law and its interaction with the Child Abduction Convention (see our previous post Opening Pandora’s Box); in addition, the implementation and application of article 13(1)(b) of the Child Abduction Convention also poses challenges (see our previous posts on the HCCH Guide to Good Practice on the grave-risk exception under article 13(1)(b) of the Child Abduction Convention through the lens of human rights: Part I and Part II).

Moreover, other challenges have arisen in these difficult times of pandemic. In this regard, Nadia Rusinova wrote a post on the “Child Abduction in times of Corona” and another one on “Remote Child-Related Proceedings in Times of Pandemic – Crisis Measures or Justice Reform Trigger?

Waiving the Right to a Foreign Arbitration Clause by submitting to the Jurisdiction of the Nigerian Court


Commercial arbitration is now very popular around the globe. It forms an important part of Nigerian jurisprudence. In Nigeria, it is regulated by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (“ACA”).[1]

Clauses designating an arbitral tribunal to resolve dispute between parties are now common place in international commercial transactions. Generally, the Nigerian courts respect and strictly enforce the parties’ choice to resolve their dispute before an arbitral tribunal in both domestic and international cases.[2] This right is however not absolute. The right to resolve disputes before an arbitral tribunal could be waived by submitting to the jurisdiction of the Nigerian court. Indeed, Section 5(1) of the ACA provides that: “If any party to an arbitration agreement commences any action in any court with respect to any matter which is the subject of an arbitration agreement any party to the arbitration agreement may, at any time after appearance and before delivering any pleadings or taking any other steps in the proceedings, apply to the court to stay the proceeding.”[3] In essence, if a party to an international arbitration clause delivers any pleadings or takes any steps in the proceedings, such a party is deemed to have waived its right to an arbitration clause by submitting to the jurisdiction of the Nigerian court,

What provokes this comment is that in a recent Nigerian Court of Appeal decision in The Vessel MT. Sea Tiger & Anor v Accord Ship Management (HK) Ltd[4] (“Tiger”), the Court of Appeal held inter alia that where a party is served with a judicial claim, in breach of a foreign arbitration clause, but fails or refuses to appear before the court, such a party is deemed to have waived its right to an arbitration agreement by submitting to the jurisdiction of the Nigerian Court. It also held that payment of an out of court settlement amounts to submission.

Global Perspectives on Responsible Artificial Intelligence

In June 2020, the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) held an online symposium dealing with “Global Perspectives on Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI)”. The range of topics included the implications of AI for European private law (Christiane Wendehorst, ELI/University of Vienna), data protection (Boris Paal, Freiburg), corporate law (Jan Lieder, Freiburg), antitrust (Stefan Thomas, Tübingen), and, last but not least, private international law (Jan von Hein, Freiburg). The videos of the presentations are now available here.