On 28 February 2018, the European Commission published the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK, based on the Joint Report from the negotiators of the two parties on the progress achieved during the first phase of the Brexit negotiations.
The draft includes a Title VI which specifically relates to judicial cooperation in civil matters. The four provisions in this Title are concerned with the fate of the legislative measures enacted by the EU in this area (and binding on the UK) once the “transition of period” will be over (that is, on 31 December 2020, as stated in Article 121 of the draft).
Article 62 of the draft provides that, in the UK, the Rome I Regulation on the law applicable to contracts and the Rome II Regulation on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations will apply, respectively, “in respect of contracts concluded before the end of the transition period” and “in respect of events giving rise to damage which occurred before the end of the transition period”.
Article 63 concerns the EU measures which lay down rules on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of decisions. These include the Brussels I bis Regulation on civil and commercial matters (as “extended” to Denmark under the 2005 Agreement between the EC and Denmark: the reference to Article 61 in Article 65(2), rather than Article 63, is apparently a clerical error), the Brussels II bis Regulation on matrimonial matters and matters of parental responsibility, and Regulation No 4/2009 on maintenance.
According to Article 63(1) of the draft, the rules on jurisdiction in the above measures will apply, in the UK, “in respect of legal proceedings instituted before the end of the transition period”. However, under Article 63(2), in the UK, “as well as in the Member States in situations involving the United Kingdom”, Article 25 of the Brussels I bis Regulation and Article 4 of the Maintenance Regulation, which concern choice-of-court agreements, will “apply in respect of the assessment of the legal force of agreements of jurisdiction or choice of court agreements concluded before the end of the transition period”(no elements are provided in the draft to clarify the notion of “involvement”, which also occurs in other provisions).
As regards recognition and enforcement, Article 63(3) provides that, in the UK and “in the Member States in situations involving the United Kingdom”, the measures above will apply to judgments given before the end of the transition period. The same applies to authentic instruments formally drawn up or registered, and to court settlements approved or concluded, prior to the end of such period.
Article 63 also addresses, with the necessary variations, the issues surrounding, among others, the fate of European enforcement orders issued under Regulation No 805/2004, insolvency proceedings opened pursuant to the Recast Insolvency Regulation, European payment orders issued under Regulation No 1896/2006, judgments resulting from European Small Claims Procedures under Regulation No 861/2007 and measures of protection for which recognition is sought under Regulation No 606/2013.
Article 64 of the draft lays down provisions in respect of the cross-border service of judicial and extra-judicial documents under Regulation No 1393/2007 (again, as extended to Denmark), the taking of evidence according to Regulation No 1206/2001, and cooperation between Member States’ authorities within the European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters established under Decision 2001/470.
Other legislative measures, such as Directive 2003/8 on legal aid, are the object of further provisions in Article 65 of the draft.
On February 7, 2018 the French Minister of Justice inaugurated the International Commercial Chamber within the Paris Court of Appeals following up on a 2017 report of the Legal High Committee for Financial Markets of Paris (Haut Comité Juridique de la Place Financière de Paris HCJP, see here). As the name suggests, this newly established division will handle disputes arising from international commercial contracts (see here). Looking backwards, the creation of the International Commercial Chamber does not come as a surprise. It offers litigants the option to lodge an appeal against decisions of the International Chamber of the Paris Commercial Court (see previous post) before a specialized division and thus complements this court on a second instance. (more…)
Written by Dr. Jorg Sladic, Attorney in Ljubljana and Assistant Professor in Maribor (Slovenia)
In judgment of 25 October 2017 in case I Cpg 1084/2016 (ECLI:SI:VSLJ:2017:I.CPG.1084.2016) published on 31 January 2018 the Slovenian Appellate Court ruled on a question of implied consent to application of Slovenian law. (more…)
The Institute for Private International and Comparative Law of the University of Cologne (Professor Mansel) is looking to appoint one to two Research Assistant(s) (Wissenschaftliche/r Mitarbeiter/in) on fixed-term contracts for 2 years, with contract extension possible, based in Cologne. The successful candidate(s) can be appointed full time (39.83 hrs/week) or part-time (19.92 hrs/week), with the latter option allowing for the completion of a PhD thesis. A German State Exam in law with above-average marks is required. In addition, proficiency in the Dutch, Italian, Spanish, or French language is an advantage. The remuneration will be based on pay group 13 TV-L.
The University of Cologne promotes equal opportunities and diversity in its employment relationships. Women are expressly invited to apply and will be given preferential treatment in accordance with the LGG NRW. Applications from severely disabled persons are very welcome. They will be given preferential consideration if suitable for the position.
Interested candidates are invited to send their detailed application including the usual documents in a single .pdf file by 20 March 2022 to firstname.lastname@example.org, for the attention of Professor Mansel.
In Memoriam Prof. Konstantinos D. Kerameus (21.4.1937-26.12.2021)
Professor Kerameus started his academic career at the Law School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in his home town, and completed his career at the University of Athens. He taught Civil Procedure, Comparative and International Procedural Law in Greek and other leading Universities abroad.
He was awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws by the Universities of Hamburg (1993), Paris II Pantheon-Assas (2000), Liege (2003) and Vienna (2003). He was the President of the International Academy of Comparative Law (1998-2006), Director of the Hellenic Institute of International and Foreign Law (1990-2007), member of the European Academy (since 1994), the International Union of Legal Science (since 1993) and the International Union of Procedural Law (since 1995)y. He represented Greece in the conference on the Lugano Convention, in the negotiations for the accession of Greece to the Brussels Convention, as well as in various committees for the harmonization of the law of contracts, torts and civil procedure in the EU.
His Report, co-authored with Dimitrios Evrigenis, on the accession of Greece in the Brussels Convention (OJ C-298/24-11-1986) has always been a leading guide in the field of European procedural law. The breadth of his interests also covered the work of the Hague Conference. In this context, he gave lectures on the topic of ‘Enforcement in the International Context’– Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law (Volume 264), 1997.
The 2019 Hague Convention on the Recognition of Foreign Judgments will make it possible for foreign, non-EU, decisions to be recognized under common terms in EU jurisdictions, and vice versa. The presentation of these developments is the main subject of the present issue (Focus).
The introduction (Praefatio) was conducted by the Greek Attorney General to the ECJ, Honorary President of the Council of State, Mr. Athanasios Rantos. The main topic of the issue was the subject of an online conference (3.12.2021), with the participation of experienced professionals on the topic in our country,and of leading foreign scientists, who participated in the works of the 2019 Hague Convention.
The general introduction was assigned to the Director of the Directorate-General for Justice of the European Commission, Dr. Andreas Stein, who participated in the works of the 2019 Convention as the head of the EU delegation.
The Chair of the meeting, Emeritus Professor of the Law School of Thessaloniki Ms. Anastasia Grammatikaki-Alexiou, who has repeatedly represented Greece in the works of the Plenary or Committees of the Hague Conference, and has taught at the Hague Academy of International Law, outlined ‘[t]he great contribution of the Hague Conference in the field of private international law’.
Directly from the USA, the President of the American Association of Comparative Law, Professor of the Law School at Willamette University, Mr. Symeon Symeonides, who participated in the work of the 2019 Convention as the representative of the Republic of Cyprus, gave his valuable thoughts on the topic. Professor Symeonides presented the theme ‘The Hague Treaty for the Recognition of Foreign Decisions-The Lowest Common Denominator’, identifying the most interesting points of the Convention and highlighting critical aspects of its text.
Judge Dimitrios Titsias, Justice Counselor, Permanent Representation of Greece to the EU, explored ‘[t]he limits of EU’ s external jurisdiction over the Hague Conventions’. The rest of the panel analyzed the individual provisions of the Hague Conventions, which will be of considerable concern to our courts in the near future. Dr. Ioannis Revolidis, Lecturer of Media, Communications and Technology Law at the University of Malta, discussed the topic of the ‘Recognition and enforcement of international judgments after the revival of the Hague Convention’; Ms. Anastasia Kalantzi, Doctoral Candidate at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki analyzed the topic ‘Points of convergence and divergence of the Hague Convention of 2005 and Regulation 1215/2012 on issues of extension of jurisdiction’; Dr. Vassilios Sarigiannidis, Head of the competent authority at the Ministry of Justice, presented the issue of ‘The system of cooperation between Central Authorities in the framework of the implementation of the 1980 and 1996 Hague Conventions on the protection of children’.
Among the judgments presented in this issue, a special mention has to be made of the following: the ECJ decision of 18.5.2021, Asocia?ia ‘Forumul Judec?torilor din Rumania’, with a comment by the associate in the International Hellenic University Ms. Raf. Tsertsidou, on the relationship between the regulations on the organization of justice in Romania and the requirements of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary; the ECJ decision of 9.9.2021, Toplofikatsia Sofia, with a case comment by Judge Mr. Ant.Vathrakokilis; the ECJ decision of 3.9.2020, mBank S.A./PA, with a case comment by Judge Ms. St.-Ag. Kapaktsi.
Concerning national court decisions, it is worth mentioning the 2020 Supreme Court of Cyprus judgment (No 122/13, 143/13), with a case comment by Cypriot jurists Dr. N. Mouttotos, University of Bremen, and Dr. N. Kyriakides, University of Nicosia, regarding the effect of the Directive No 93/13 on consumer contracts in the reversal of the final judgment under national law; the judgment of the Greek Supreme Court No 820/2021, with a note by Dr. Ap. Anthimos and Solicitor (England/Wales) Dr. K. Voulgarakis, on the obstruction of the right to judicial protection by orders of courts of another Member State, which led to the submission of relevant preliminary question to the ECJ, as well as the decision of the Athens First Instance Court No 312/2019, with a case note by Dr. Ch. Meidanis, on the role of the jurisdiction of torts in case of the fall of a Greek warplane in a NATO exercise in Spain.
In the column of Scientific Topics, the volume hosts a study by Dr. G.-A. Georgiadis, on the 10-year anniversary of the 2007 Hague Protocol on the law applicable to maintenance obligations, while the L&F Praxis section presents the main problems of the EAPO, which raise many practical concerns, by Judge Mr. I. Valmantonis.
Bianca Scraback has recently published an innovative book on international jurisdiction in contract and tort under the Brussels Ia Regulation, in which she develops a comprehensive solution for cases in which Article 7(1) and 7(2) vest special jurisdiction in the courts of more than one Member State.
The different solutions adopted by the CJEU to mitigate the problems resulting from a multiplicity of places of ‘contract performance’ or ‘harmful events’ are well-known. They range from the infamous ‘mosaic approach’ developed in Case C-68/93 Shevill (most recently confirmed in Case C-251/20 Gtflix tv) to a variety of centre-of-gravity approaches (see, eg, Cases C-386/05 Color Drack, C-204/08 Rehder, C-19/09 Wood Floor, and C-352/13 CDC Hydrogen Peroxide) to the unavailability of special jurisdiction (Case C-256/00 Besix). Still, the Court regularly accepts the coexistence of multiple fora with special jurisdiction.
Now, Scraback argues that this coexistence often violates the ‘principle of concentration of conflicts’, which she derives from Articles 5(2), 8, 21(1), 24, and 29–34 Brussels Ia, as well as the principles of legal certainty and proximity. After a detailed review of the existing case law, she comes to the conclusion that each of the approaches that have so far been applied by the CJEU also conflicts with core principles of the Regulation and fails to provide a unitary solution for both contract and tort cases.
Against this backdrop, Scraback proposes an approach of ‘limited choices’ for the claimant: as a starting point, based on the wording of the Regulation, any claimant must be free to select any forum that fulfils the requirements of Articles 7(1) or 7(2), without any limitation of its jurisdiction (thus rejecting the mosaic approach); yet, to protect the legitimate interests of the defendant, certain fora must be excluded based on the remote character of their connection to the dispute. More specifically, Scraback proposes to exclude all fora that can be considered subsidiary both in comparison to the overall tort or contractual obligation and in comparison to other available fora – which appears to require some kind of reverse centre-of-gravity analysis not dissimilar from a forum non conveniens test. While providing a serious alternative to the CJEU’s notoriously unconvincing approach to online torts, it can certainly be debated if this approach provides a better alternative to the answers found by the CJEU in all case. Still, Scraback’s ‘principle of concentration of conflicts’ offers an interesting new vantage point and useful frame of reference to think about a wide range of seemingly unrelated scenarios.
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