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Dutch collective redress dangerous? A call for a more nuanced approach

Prepared by Alexandre Biard, Xandra Kramer and Ilja Tillema, Erasmus University Rotterdam

The Netherlands has become dangerously involved in the treatment of mass claims, Lisa Rickard from the US Chamber of Commerce recently said to the Dutch financial daily (Het Financieele Dagblad, 28 September 2017) and the Dutch BNR newsradio (broadcast of 28 September 2017). This statement follows the conclusions of two reports published in March and September 2017 by the US Institute for Legal Reforms (ILR), an entity affiliated with the US Chamber of Commerce. Within a few hours, the news spread like wildfire in online Dutch newspapers, see for instance here.

Worryingly enough, the March 2017 report, which assessed collective redress mechanisms in ten Member States, predicted that ‘there are a number of very powerful indicators that all of the same incentives and forces that have led to mass abuse in other jurisdictions are also gathering force in the EU’. Among the jurisdictions surveyed, the Netherlands appeared as a place particularly prone to such abuse. The September 2017 report focuses on consumer attitudes towards collective redress safeguards, and ultimately concludes that 85% of respondents tend to support the introduction of safeguards for the resolution of mass claims.

I thought we were exclusive? Some issues with the Hague Convention on Choice of Court, Brussels Ia and Brexit

This blog post is by Dr Mukarrum Ahmed (Lancaster University) and Professor Paul Beaumont (University of Aberdeen). It presents a condensed version of their article in the August 2017 issue of the Journal of Private International Law. The blog post includes specific references to the actual journal article to enable the reader to branch off into the detailed discussion where relevant. It also takes account of recent developments in the Brexit negotiation that took place after the journal article was completed.    

On 1 October 2015, the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements 2005 (‘Hague Convention’) entered into force in 28 Contracting States, including Mexico and all the Member States of the European Union, except Denmark. The Convention has applied between Singapore and the other Contracting States since 1 October 2016. China, Ukraine and the USA have signed the Convention indicating that they hope to ratify it in the future (see the official status table for the Convention on the Hague Conference on Private International Law’s website). The Brussels Ia Regulation, which is the European Union’s device for jurisdictional and enforcement matters, applies as of 10 January 2015 to legal proceedings instituted and to judgments rendered on or after that date. In addition to legal issues that may arise independently under the Hague Convention, some issues may manifest themselves at the interface between the Hague Convention and the Brussels Ia Regulation. Both sets of issues are likely to garner the attention of cross-border commercial litigators, transactional lawyers and private international law academics. The article examines anti-suit injunctions, concurrent proceedings and the implications of Brexit in the context of the Hague Convention and its relationship with the Brussels Ia Regulation. (See pages 387-389 of the article)

On the Global Community of Private International Law – Impressions from Brazil

From August 3-5 this year, the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro hosted the 7th biennial conference of the Journal of Private International Law. Ably organized by Nadia de Araujo and Daniela Vargas from the host institution, together with Paul Beaumont from Aberdeen, the conference was a great success, as concerns both the quality and quantity of the presentations. Instead of a conference report, I want to provide some, undoubtedly subjective, impressions as concerns the emerging global community of private international law.

First, no less than 168 participants attended, from all over the world. The Journal conference has, by now, become something like a World Congress of Private International Law. This is no small achievement. The Journal of Private International Law started out in 2005 as a very doctrinal publication focusing primarily on common law systems and European private international law. Fittingly, the first two conferences took place in the UK. It was a very wise decision to move, after that, to cities in other countries—New York (2009), Milan (2011), Madrid (2013) and now, after a return to the UK (Cambridge) for the ten-year anniversary in 2015, Rio de Janeiro (2017). By now, it can be said that Journal and conference both really represent the world. And what is emerging is a global community that comes together at these and other events.

News

Personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant in a product liability case to be argued before the US Supreme Court today: the consolidated Ford Motor cases

The US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today (7-Oct-2020) concerning two consolidated cases: Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court and Ford Motor Co. v. Bandemer. The consolidated cases deal with the difficult issue of personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant, where there is a split in federal courts of appeals and state courts of last resort. These cases are significant because they will have a direct impact on the ease with which plaintiffs can lodge a complaint in product liability cases against big automobile companies (and others) before the courts of their own state. In a nutshell, it can be argued that besides jurisdictional matters relating to the defendant, these cases deal with fundamental notions of access to justice for consumers.

The oral argument was originally scheduled for April 2020 but given the Covid-19 pandemic was rescheduled for the October 2020 term. Please note that the Supreme Court can hear oral arguments even though they are currently only 8 justices. According to Rule 4 of the Supreme Court of the United States, six Members of the Court constitute a quorum. Nevertheless, complications may arise if there is a 4-4 split during the deliberations. Given the great experience and expertise of Justice Ginsburg in this area (see our previous post here), it is a pity that she could not partake in this oral argument and decision, and she will be greatly missed.

Below I include the question presented. More information will follow soon, stay tuned!

Petition for a writ of certiorari on behalf of Ford Motor Company

“The Due Process Clause permits a state court to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant only when the plaintiff’s claims “arise out of or relate to” the defendant’s forum activities. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 472 (1985) (internal quotation marks omitted).”

Call for Papers “Jurisdiction – Who speaks international law?”

The German Working Group of Young Scholars in Public International Law (Arbeitskreis junger Völkerrechtswissenschaftler*innen – AjV) asked me to forward the following call for papers. This conference intends to bridge the gap between international public and private international law, thus, contributions from private international law are more than welcome. The official call is on this website or here as pdf: 2020_30_09 – CfP [ENG] .

The Working Group of Young Scholars in Public International Law (Arbeitskreis junger Völkerrechtswissenschaftler*innen – AjV) and the German Society of International Law (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationales Recht – DGIR) invite contributions to their joint conference titled

Jurisdiction

Who speaks international law?

3-4 September 2021

University of Bonn

 

Virtual Conference on “The Burden of Proof in International Arbitration”

On Monday, October 26, 2020 at 15.00 CET, the European Center for Arbitration and Mediation and The International School of Arbitration and Mediation for Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East organise their Annual International Conference Med-Mid XIV on “The Burden of Proof in International Arbitration/La charge de la preuve dans l’arbitrage international”.

The conference addresses four key issues of any international arbitration, which require a focussed and renewed reflection: 1) Oral Evidence: Fact Witnesses, Expert Witnesses, Parties and Witness Statement (Civil Law and Common Law approaches); 2) The applicable Law on matters such as the effects of the procedural law (Civil Law and Common Law approaches) on the taking of evidence; 3) Disclosure of documents: effects of only voluntary production of documents v. forced discovery; 4) The Arbitrator’s authority as to evidence (Role as Umpire; wider ex officio authority as to evidence) as well as limits and support from State Courts.