US Court Refused to Apply the Chosen Chinese Law due to Public Policy Concern

In Fu v. Fu, 2017 IL App (1st) 162958-U, a father brought a claim against his son to revoke an unconditional gift of $590,000 that he donated to his son for the later to pursue an EB-5 Visa to immigrate to the US. Both parties are Chinese citizens and the defendant is currently a resident of Massachusetts. The gift agreement was entered into in China, drafted in Chinese and contained a clause specifying PRC law should apply. The money was held by the International Bank of Chicago. The plaintiff brought the action in Illinois.

Under the US Law (Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations, § 204.6) a foreign national must invest at least $500,000 in the US to be considered for an EB-5 Visa, and must ‘show that he has invested his own capital obtained through lawful means.’ (Matter of Ho, 22 I&N Dec. 206, 210 (AAO 1998)) After a few denied EB-5 approval, the plaintiff sought to recover the money, by claiming that the defendant was estranged from his parents, including the donor and refused to support them, and the purpose of the gift contract was for the defendant to obtain an EB-5 Visa but the defendant failed to do so.

Under the Illinois law, a valid gift requires ‘delivery of the property by the donor to the donee, with the intent to pass the title to the donee absolutely and irrevocably, and the donor must relinquish all present and future dominion and power over the subject matter of the gift.” (Pocius v. Fleck, 13 Ill. 2d 420, 427 (1958)). Furthermore, the gift agreement between the parties also used the language that the gift was ‘unconditional’. However, the plaintiff argued that under the PRC law, gifts may be revocable after the transfer of ownership, if the donee ‘has the obligation to support the donor but does not fulfil it’, or a donnee ‘does not fulfill the obligations as stipulated in the gift agreement.’ (PRC Contract Law, Art 192)

The Appellate Court of Illinois First Judicial District affirmed the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County that the gift agreement was irrevocable. The plaintiff failed to successfully prove Chinese law. And even if the plaintiff properly pled PRC law, such interpretation was ‘oppressive, immoral, and impolitic’. Under the US law on EB-5 Visa application, the foreign citizen must prove ownership of those funds to be eligible for an EB-5 Visa. The signed agreement stating the gift ‘unconditional’ would help the defendant to prove he legally owned the funds to acquire an EB-5 visa. If the governing PRC law indeed allows a gift to be given unconditionally and revoked after delivery and acceptance, as argued by the plaintiff, it would facilitate a deception on the US Government and is against public policy.

The full judgment can be found here.

NIKI continued

Written by Lukas Schmidt, Research Fellow at the Center for Transnational Commercial Dispute Resolution (TCDR) of the EBS Law School, Wiesbaden, Germany

The Spanish airline Vueling Airlines S.A. is still intending to acquire large parts of the NIKI business. Vueling is part of the European aviation group IAG, which also includes British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and LEVEL. The provisional insolvency administrator of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH, therefore, will continue to drive forward the sales process. Vueling has provided interim financing of up to € 16.5 million to finance the NIKI business until the closing of the purchase agreement. This funding is only sufficient for a few weeks. (more…)

NIKI, COMI, Air Berlin and Art. 5 EIR recast

Written by Lukas Schmidt, Research Fellow at the Center for Transnational Commercial Dispute Resolution (TCDR) of the EBS Law School, Wiesbaden, Germany.

The Regional Court of Berlin has, on the basis of the immediate appeal against the order of the provisional insolvency administration on the assets of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH (under Austrian law), repealed the decision of the District Court of Charlottenburg (see here) as it finds that international jurisdiction lies with Austrian and not German courts. In its decision, the regional court has dealt with the definition of international jurisdiction, which is based on the debtor’s centre of main interests (‘COMI’). According to the provisions of the European Insolvency Regulation, that is the place where the debtor usually conducts the administration of its interests and that is ascertainable by third parties. (more…)


EFFORTS French and Luxembourgish Exchange Seminar, 24 September 2021 (online)

On Friday, 24 September 2021, the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law will host the EFFORTS National Exchange Seminar for France and Luxembourg (online).

This Seminar is organised in the framework of the EFFORTS project (Towards more effective enforcement of claims in civil and commercial matters within the EU), which tackles the Brussels I-bis Regulation and the Regulations on the European Enforcement Order, the European Small Claims Procedure, the European Payment Order, and the European Account Preservation Order. The Project investigates, in particular, the implementation of these Regulations in the national procedural law of Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, and Luxembourg, and is conducted by a consortium comprising the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg, the Universities of Milan (coord.), Heidelberg, Zagreb, Vilnius, and the Free University of Brussels.

The programme of the Seminar is available here.

Participants are kindly requested to pre-register by sending an email including their full name, title and affiliation to at the latest by Sunday, 19 September 2021.

More information on EFFORTS and its research outputs are available via the project website and in various newsletters previously posted here, here, and here.

On the EFFORTS German Exchange Seminar, see the previous announcement here.

This Project was funded by the European Union’s Justice Programme (2014-2020). The content of this study represents the views of the authors only and is their sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Project JUST-JCOO-AG-2019-881802
With financial support from the Civil Justice Programme of the European Union

Call for Papers: NGPIL Competition

Originally posted today on NGPIL website

The Nigeria Group on Private International Law “(NGPIL”) invites submissions for next year’s NGPIL Conflict of Laws’ Competition. The winner will be awarded for the best essay on any aspect of Nigerian conflict of laws. Entries will be accepted from the following: an undergraduate and/or postgraduate scholar studying in Nigeria, or any Nigerian lawyer five years call or below practicing and residing in Nigeria. The essay should be unpublished at the time of submission. Submitted essays should be in the English language. Submitted essays should also be within five to ten thousand words. Competitors may be citizens of any nation, age or gender but must be an undergraduate and/or postgraduate scholar studying in Nigeria, or any lawyer below or within five years post-call experience practicing and residing in Nigeria. They need not be Members, or on the Participant’s list of NGPIL.

The prize is 300 GBP, and the winner of the competition will be encouraged to publish the paper in any high-quality peer reviewed journal on private international law (conflict of laws). The prize is sponsored by and will be awarded by NGPIL based upon the assessment of NGPIL.

Submissions to the Prize Committee must be received no later than January 10, 2022. Entries should be submitted by email in Word or pdf format. The winner will be announced no later than 2 months after the deadline. Decisions of the NGPIL on the winning essay and on any conditions relating to this prize are final. Submissions and any queries should be addressed by email to All submissions will be acknowledged by e-mail.

Out now: ‘Direct Jurisdiction’ by Anselmo Reyes and Wilson Lui

The second thematic volume in the series Studies in Private International Law – Asia looks into direct jurisdiction, that is, the situations in which the courts of 15 key Asian states (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India) are prepared to hear a case involving cross-border elements. For instance, where parties are habitually resident abroad and a dispute has only some, little or no connection with an Asian state, will the courts of that state accept jurisdiction and hear the case and (if so) on what conditions? More specifically, the book’s chapters explore the circumstances in which different Asian states assume or decline jurisdiction not just in commercial matters, but also in other types of action (such as family, consumer and employment disputes).

The Introduction defines terminology and identifies similarities in the approaches to direct jurisdiction taken by the 15 Asian states in civil and commercial litigation. Taking its cue from this, the Conclusion assesses whether there should be a multilateral convention or soft law instrument articulating principles of direct jurisdiction for Asia. The Conclusion also discusses possible trajectories that Asian states may be taking in respect of direct jurisdiction in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the political tensions currently besetting the world. The book suggests that enacting suitable rules of direct jurisdiction requires an Asian state to strike a delicate balance between affording certainty and protecting its nationals. At heart, direct jurisdiction involves sometimes difficult policy considerations and is not just about drawing up lists of jurisdictional grounds and exceptions to them.

For further information please visit: