The Justice Initiative Frankfurt am Main 2017

Written by Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Burkhard Hess, Executive Director Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law

Against the backdrop of Brexit, an initiative has been launched to strengthen Frankfurt as a hot spot for commercial litigation in the European Judicial Area. On March 30, 2017, the Minister of Justice of the Federal State Hessen, Ms Kühne-Hörmann, organized a conference at which the Justice Initiative was presented. More  than 120 stakeholders (lawyers, judges, businesses) attended the conference. The original paper was elaborated by Professors Burkhard Hess (Luxembourg), Thomas Pfeiffer (Heidelberg), Christian Duve (Heidelberg) and Roman Poseck (President of the Frankfurt Court of Appeal). Here, we are pleased to provide an English translation of the position paper with some additional information on German procedural law for an international audience. The proposal has, as a matter of principle, been endorsed by the Minister of Justice. Its proposals are now being discussed and shall be implemented in the next months to come. The paper reads as follows: (more…)

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.



Commission publishes a revised notice to stakeholders in the field of civil justice and private international law in view of UK’s withdrawal from the EU

The DIRECTORATE-GENERAL JUSTICE AND CONSUMERS of the Commission has recently published a further notice on the EU-Brexit saga in the field of civil justice and private international law.

The notice covers core aspects, such as international jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement, specific European procedures (EPO, ESCP), judicial cooperation instruments (Service and Evidence Regulations), insolvency, ans other pertinent issues (public documents, legal aid, mediation).

The full text of the notice may be retrieved here.

Out now: Asian Principles for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments

Readers previously obtained a preview of the 13 principles which make up the Asian Principles for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, a publication by the Asian Business Law Institute (ABLI). I am delighted to be informed by ABLI that the Asian Principles has been formally released today.

The blurb is below:

“Authored by leading academics and practitioners with extensive regional exposure, the Asian Principles is a set of 13 overarching principles that underpin the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in the Asia Pacific. Each principle comes with a detailed commentary fully supported by citations, distills the commonalities and differences of the law on foreign judgments recognition and enforcement in 15 countries (all ten ASEAN member states, plus Australia, China India, Japan and South Korea) for its readers, and where appropriate, suggests ways forward for the development of the law in this area.

The first of any such publication in the world, the Asian Principles is available here where you can download the first chapter free of charge. The table of contents and a detailed FAQ list are also available at the link. It is hoped that the release of the Asian Principles can serve to promote convergence in this area of the law by facilitating greater portability of judgments within ASEAN and its major trading partners, which can in turn facilitate cross-border transactions by reducing legal uncertainties, lowering transaction costs and minimizing associated legal frictions.”

ELI-UNIDROIT Model European Rules of Civil Procedure Approved by ELI Bodies

The European Law Institute informs us that the ELI-UNIDROIT Model European Rules of Civil Procedure were approved by the ELI bodies on 15 July and 5 August 2020. The UNIDROIT Governing Council will vote upon the Model European Rules of Civil Procedure soon at its meeting on 23–25 September 2020.

If adopted as well there, the ELI/UNIDROIT Rules may contribute harmonising the national procedural rules of the EU Member States and as such broaden the basis for mutual trust in the Member States’ judicial cooperation in civil matters. The Rules may be taken as a kind of minimum standard or best practice, as the case may be in the respective issue in question, and the more a national rule of civil procedure deviates from these standards, the more justifications and explanations are invited, if not expected (see e.g. Matthias Weller, in Matthias Weller/Christoph Althammer, Mindeststandards im europäischen Zivilprozessrecht – Grundvoraussetzung für gegenseitiges Vertrauen, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2015, Vorwort, p. VI, comparing this mechanism to some extent with the control of standard terms).