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CJEU on the place of the damage under Article 7(2) of Brussels Ia as regards violation of personality rights of a legal person

First personal impressions presented by Edina Márton, LLM, PhD (Saarbruecken)

For jurisdictional purposes, the localisation of cross-border violations of personality rights under European instruments, such as Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 (Brussels Ia), has attracted the attention of a considerable number of scholars and often led to different legal solutions in the national judicial practice. At EU level, besides Shevill (C-68/93; ECLI:EU:C:1995:61) as well as eDate and Martinez (C-509/09 and C-161/20; ECLI:EU:C:2011:685), since 17 October 2017, a third judgment in case Bolagsupplysningen (C-194/16; ECLI:EU:C:2017:766) has given further clarification in this area. In the recently delivered judgment, the ECJ specified one of the two limbs of the connecting factor “where the harmful event occurred or may occur” under Article 7(2) of Brussels Ia, namely the place of the alleged damage. (more…)

Is “la réserve héréditaire” part of French international public policy ?

Through two decisions (Civ. 1ère, 27 sept. 2017, n° 16-17198 et 16-13151) both issued on September 27th, The French Cour de cassation finally gave an answer to one of the most discussed question of French Succession law: Is la réserve héréditaire part of French international public policy?

The circumstances of both cases are very similar. Two French composers living in California, where they had most of their assets, got married respectively in 1984 and 1990. They put their assets in a trust and designated their wives as beneficiaries. In both cases, the settlers did not designate the children they had from previous relationships as beneficiaries of the trust. After the death of their fathers, the latter turned to French courts in order to obtain part of the inheritance. They argued that the Californian law applicable to the succession should be declared contrary to French international public policy for not including a réserve héréditaire for certain heirs.

According to Article 912 §1 of the French Civil Code, la réserve hérédiataire or the reserved portion « is that part of the assets and rights of the succession whose devolution, free of charge, the law assures to certain heirs, called forced heirs, if they are called to the succession and if they accept it ». In other words, under French succession law, a person cannot freely dispose of all of his or her assets. French law set boundaries by putting aside a reserved portion of the deceased’s property. However, he or she can freely dispose of the disposable portion (quotité disponible) which is defined as « that part of the assets and rights of the succession that is not reserved by law and of which the deceased can freely dispose by liberalities » (Article 912 § 2).

Freedom of establishment after Polbud: Free transfer of the registered office

Bastian Brunk, research assistant and doctoral student at the Institute for Comparative and Private International Law at the University of Freiburg (Germany), has provided us with the following first thoughts on the CJEU’s groundbreaking Polbud judgment.

The Judgment

In its judgment in Polbud (C-106/16), the CJEU again took the work out of the EU legislature’s hands while further developing the freedom of establishment provided for in Articles 49 and 54 TFEU. The case was heard following a request for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU by the Sad Najwyzszy (Supreme Court of Poland). In short, the CJEU had to decide on the following questions:

(1) Are Articles 49 and 54 TFEU applicable to a transfer of the registered office of a company incorporated under the law of one Member State to the territory of another Member State with the purpose of converting its legal form, when the company has no intention to change the location of its real head office or to conduct real economic activity in the latter Member State?

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Book Launch: Challenges for Private International Law in Contemporary Society

On Friday, November 13, at 11:oo Brasilia time (i.e. 15:00 in Hamburg and 9:oo a.m. in New York)  this book will be launched via zoom. The book emerges from a 2019 conference in Brasilia, which brought together scholars from several countries, and in several languages (Portuguese, Spanish, English). It demonstrates the vibrancy of private international law in Latin America.
Sign up for the event here.

International Commercial Litigation Conference: JPRI Korea, HCCH, UNIDROIT, and UNCITRAL

This Thursday 12 and Friday 13 November, the 2020 International Conference of the Korean Judicial Policy Research Institute (JPRI) will take place. The conference is co-organised by the JPRI, the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

This year’s conference theme is “International Commercial Litigation: Recent Developments and Future Challenges”, with sessions spanning a variety of topics, including international commercial contracts, secured transactions and insolvency, recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, e-litigation and e-service, and the enforcement of arbitral awards and mediation settlement agreements. The full programme is available here.

The sessions will be streamed on the JPRI YouTube Channel.

This post is published by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference of Private International Law (HCCH).

The Contractual Function of a Choice of Court Agreement in Nigerian Jurisprudence (Part 2)

  1. Introduction

In my last blog post, I made mention of a Nigerian Court of Appeal decision that applied the principle of contract law exclusively to a foreign jurisdiction clause.[1] In that case, applying the principles of Nigerian contract law, the Nigerian Court of Appeal held that the alleged choice of court agreement in favour of Benin Republic was unenforceable because the terms were not clear and unambiguous in conferring jurisdiction on a foreign forum.[2]

The purpose of this blog post is to analyse a more recent Nigerian Court of Appeal decision where the court gave full contractual effect to the parties’ choice of court agreement by strictly enforcing a Dubai choice of court agreement.[3]

2. Facts

Damac Star Properties LLC v Profitel Limited (“Damac”)[4] was the fall out of an investment introduced to the 1st plaintiff/respondent by the 2nd respondent allegedly on behalf of the defendant/appellant wherein the 1st plaintiff/respondent paid a deposit of 350,000.00 US Dollars for 9 apartments in Dubai and being 20% of the total cost of the apartments. The contract between the 1st plaintiff/respondent and defendant/appellant contained an exclusive choice of court clause in favour of Dubai. There was a dispute between the parties as to some of the terms of the contract. This resulted in the defendant/appellant selling the apartments to another buyer. The 1st plaintiff/respondent requested for a refund of the deposit that was paid to the defendant/appellant, but its request was declined. As a result of this, the 1st plaintiff/respondent initiated a suit for summary judgment in High Court, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria, against the defendant/appellant and the 2nd respondent, and got an order to serve the defendant/appellant through the 2nd respondent, its alleged agent in Nigeria. At this stage, the defendant/appellant did not appear and was unrepresented in proceedings at the High Court. The High Court proceeded to hear the suit and entered judgment against the defendant/appellant with an order to refund the sum of 350,000.00 US Dollars with 10% interest from date of judgment till the judgment sum was fully liquidated. The defendant/appellant applied to the High Court to set aside the judgment, but the court dismissed the application.

3. Decision

The defendant/appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal unanimously allowed the appeal. The Court of Appeal held on the basis of the exclusive choice of court agreement in favour of Dubai – which it regarded as valid – the lower court should not have assumed jurisdiction.

4. Judicial statements in Support of Damac