Draft Withdrawal Agreement 19 March 2018: Still a Way to Go

Today, the European Union and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement on the transition period for Brexit: from March 29 of next year, date of disconnection, until December 31, 2020. The news are of course available in the press, and the Draft Withdrawal Agreement of 19 March 2018 has already been published… coloured: In green, the text is agreed at negotiators’ level and will only be subject to technical legal revisions in the coming weeks. In yellow, the text is agreed on the policy objective but drafting changes or clarifications are still required. In white, the text corresponds to text proposed by the Union on which discussions are ongoing as no agreement has yet been found. For ongoing judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters (Title VI of Part III, to be applied from December 31, 2020: see Art. 168), this actually means that subject to “technical legal revisions”, the following has been accepted:

  • Art. 62: The EU and the UK are in accordance as to the application by the latter (no need to mention the MS for obvious reasons) of the Rome I and Rome II regulations to contracts concluded before the end of the transition period, and in respect of events giving rise to damage, and which occurred before the end of the transition period.

Religious Conversion and Custody – Important New Decision by the Malaysian Federal Court

A saga that has kept Malaysians engaged for years has finally founds its conclusion. A woman, named (rather improbably, at least for European observers) Indira Gandhi, was fighting with her ex husband over custody. The ex-husband had converted to Islam and had extended the conversion to their three children, with the consequence that the Syariah courts gave him sole custody. What followed was a whole series of court decisions by civil courts on the one hand and Syariah courts on the other, focusing mainly on the jurisdictional question which set of courts gets to decide matters of religious status and which law—Islamic law or civil law—determines the question. The Malaysian Federal Court now quashed the conversion as regards the children, thereby claiming, at least for children, a priority of the Constitution and the jurisdiction of civil courts.

Mutual trust and judicial cooperation in the EU’s external relations – the blind spot in the EU’s Foreign Trade and Private International Law policy?

Further to the splendid conference How European is European Private International Law? at Berlin on 2 and 3 March 2018, I would like to add some thoughts on an issue that was briefly raised by our fellow editor Pietro Franzina in his truly excellent conference presentation on “The relationship between EU and international Private International Law instruments”. Pietro rightly observed an “increased activity on the external side”, meaning primarily the EU’s PIL activities on the level of the Hague Conference.

At the same time, there seems to be still a blind spot for the EU’s Private International Law policy when it comes to the design of the EU’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Although there is an increasingly large number of such agreements and although “trade is no longer just about trade” (DG Trade) but additionally about exchange or even export of values such as “sustainability”, human rights, labour and environmental standards and the rule of law, there seems to be no policy by DG Trade to include in its many FTAs a Chapter on judicial cooperation with the EU’s respective external trade partners.

To my knowledge there are only the following recent exceptions: The Association Agreements with Georgia and Moldova. Both Agreements entered into force on 1 July 2016.


First Issue of 2021’s Journal of Private International Law

The first issue of the Journal of Private International Law for 2021 was released today and it features the following articles:

Paul Beaumont, Some reflections on the way ahead for UK private international law after Brexit

Just released: Journal of Law & Islam / Zeitschrift für Recht & Islam (ZR&I) 12 (2020)

Volume 11/2019 of the Journal of Law & Islam / Zeitschrift für Recht & Islam (ZR&I) has just been published. The full issue is available online here. It includes case notes and articles devoted to questions of Islamic law and its interaction with other legal systems. Some of the articles are in English.

Editorial …………………………………………………………………………………… (7 f.)

Rechtsprechung & Urteilsberichte (Case Law) ………………………………………………. (9–36)

Bruno Menhofer, Verpflichtung zur Mitwirkung an religiöser Scheidung und Grenze der rechtlichen Bindung –
Anmerkung zum Beschluss des OLG Hamburg vom 25. 10. 2019 – 12 UF 220/17
[Duty to Participate in a Religious Divorce and its Legally Binding Limits – Commentary
on the Ruling of Hamburg?s Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht [OLG] Hamburg)
of 25. 10. 2019 – 12 UF 220/17] ……………………………………………….. (9–14)

Bruno Menhofer, Function follows form – Zur Entscheidung des BGH über die Formbedürftigkeit der Vereinbarung
einer Brautgabe nach deutschem Recht
[Function Follows Form – Comment on the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof [BGH]
Judgment Regarding Formal Requirements of a Dowry Agreement under German Law]    (15–23)


Marcus Teo also recently published an article  with International and Comparative Law Quarterly titled: “Narrowing Foreign Affairs Non-Justiciability.”

The abstract reads as follows:

“The UK Supreme Court’s decision in Belhaj v Straw defined foreign affairs non-justiciability and unearthed its constitutional foundations. However, two decisions since Belhaj—High Commissioner for Pakistan v Prince Muffakham Jah and The Law Debenture Trust Corpn plc v Ukraine—have called Belhaj into doubt, narrowing non-justiciability to give effect to ordinary private law rights. This article analyses these decisions and argues that their general approach of subjecting issues involving transactions between sovereign States to private international law’s framework is desirable, because the constitutional foundations of non-justiciability identified in Belhaj are shaky. Yet, it is suggested that private international law itself may require courts to exercise judicial restraint on these issues, given its goal of upholding the efficient resolution of international disputes in appropriate fora.”