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.



Call for Papers: SLS Conflict of Laws Section, Durham University and virtually, 2021

As has now become tradition, the Annual Conference of the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) will feature a section dedicated to Conflict of Laws. In 2021, the conference will take place between 31 August and 3 September at the University of Durham and virtually (further information on the conference can be found here). The new conveners of the Conflict of Laws section, Lauren Clayton-Helm and Bobby Lindsay, have kindly provided the following Call for Papers.

SLS Conflict of Laws Section: Call for Papers/Panels for 2021 SLS Annual Conference at Durham University and virtually

This is a call for papers and panels for the Conflict of Laws section of the 2021 Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference to be held at the University of Durham, from Tuesday 31st August – Friday 3rd September.  The Conflict of Laws section will meet in the first half of the conference on 31st August – 1st September and will have four sessions, each lasting 90 minutes.

Time for Italy and Spain to Join the Hague Adults Convention  

Invitation by Pietro Franzina

The Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan will host a webinar on The Fundamental Rights of Persons with Cognitive Disabilities in Cross-border Situations – Time for Italy and Spain to Join the Hague Adults Convention, on 22 February 2021, from 5 pm to 7 pm CET.

The speakers – Philippe Lortie (First Secretary of The Hague Conference on Private International Law), Salomé Adroher Biosca (Comillas Pontifical University), Pietro Franzina (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart) and Geraldo Maciel Rocha Mendes Ribeiro (University of Coimbra) – will analyse the Hague Convention of 13 January 2000 on the International Protection of Adults and the prospect that Italy and Spain might join the thirteen States which are currently bound by that regime.

Attendance is free. No prior registration is required.

For more information, including the link to access the webinar, see here.