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A European Law Reading of Achmea

Written by Prof. Burkhard Hess, Max Planck Institute Luxembourg.

An interesting perspective concerning the Achmea judgment of the ECJ[1] relates to the way how the Court addresses investment arbitration from the perspective of European Union law. This paper takes up the judgment from this perspective. There is no doubt that Achmea will disappoint many in the arbitration world who might read it paragraph by paragraph while looking for a comprehensive line of arguments. Obviously, some paragraphs of the judgment are short (maybe because they were shortened during the deliberations) and it is much more the outcome than the line of arguments that counts. However, as many judgments of the ECJ, it is important to read the decision in context. In this respect, there are several issues to be highlighted here: (more…)

CJEU on the compatibility with EU law of an arbitration clause in an Intra-EU BIT – Case C-284/16 (Slovak Republic v Achmea BV)

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

Today, the CJEU has rendered its judgement in Slovak Republic v Achmea BV (Case C-284/16). The case concerned the compatibility with EU law of a dispute clause in an Intra-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between the Netherlands and the Slovak Republic which grants an investor the right to bring proceedings against the host state (in casu: the Slovak Republic) before an arbitration tribunal. In concrete terms, the German Federal Court of Justice referred the following three questions to the CJEU (reported here): (more…)

The impact of Brexit on the operation of the EU legislative measures in the field of private international law

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.

News

Saudi Arabia has joined the HCCH Apostille Convention

Last week Saudi Arabia acceded to the HCCH Apostille Convention. The Apostille Convention will enter into force for Saudi Arabia on 7 December 2022. The HCCH news item is available here.

This accession is remarkable in two ways.  First, it clearly signals an increased interest in the Apostille Convention in the Middle East. In this regard, it should be noted that the Apostille Convention entered into force for Bahrain on 31 December 2013 and for Oman on 30 January 2012. For a list of Contracting Parties, click here.

Secondly, it will greatly facilitate the ease with which public documents circulate in this region (and globally) as in some of these countries a legalization, especially for commercial documents, is either very expensive or the fees are dependent on a percentage of the total amount of the invoice or a tabular fee. See for an example here. The price of an Apostille should be, after all, reasonable.

Online Seminar BEUC Judges & Collective Redress

                    Judges & collective redress:

new perspectives and opportunities for judiciary

          Thursday 12 May 2022, 15:00 to 17:30 CEST

       This online event will be held in English and is reserved for judges and members of judiciaries.

                            >>> REGISTER HERE <<<

Judges may play an important role in collective redress actions following mass harm situations. Mass harm situations refer to cases where a number of persons are harmed by the same illegal practices relating to the violation of their rights by one or more traders or other persons. Collective redress actions may seek the cessation of such practices and/or compensation. The fact that such disputes concern large numbers of persons raises specific procedural challenges but also offers opportunities in terms of efficient administration of justice.

In the context of the EU’s Representative Actions Directive, which will come into application in June 2023, judges will be called upon to undertake specific tasks. Depending on the national rules transposing the Directive, they may be required to assess the admissibility and merits of the actions, to ensure that consumers are appropriately represented and informed, to verify that the interests of all represented parties are well-protected, etc. The objective of this workshop is to raise awareness on collective redress and to exchange on the roles of judges in collective redress actions.

During a panel discussion, three judges with recognised expertise in the field of collective redress will share their insight and experience:

Mr. Fabian Reuschle (judge at the Stuttgart Regional courtLandgericht – Germany). Fabian Reuschle actively participated in the adoption of the German Capital Markets Model Case Act (KapMuG) establishing a lead case procedure for the collective handling of capital market-related actions.

Sir Peter Roth (judge at the London High Court & UK Competition Appeal Tribunal). Sir Peter presided over a collective litigation against MasterCard lodged on behalf of 46 million consumers.

Mr. Jeroen Chorus (retired judge, formerly at the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, the Netherlands). Jeroen Chorus was notably in charge of the Dexia and Shell mass settlement with consequences on consumers in multiple European jurisdictions.

Programme:

15:00-15:05 Welcome
15:05-15:15 Setting the scene: What does collective redress mean for judges? (Stefaan Voet, KU Leuven University)
15:15 – 16:30 Panel discussion with:

  • Judge Roth
  • Judge Chorus
  • Judge Reuschle

Panel moderated by Maria José Azar-Baud (University of Paris-Saclay, France) & Ianika Tzankova (University of Tilburg, the Netherlands)

16:30-17:15 Questions & Answers session with the audience (moderated by Magdalena Tulibacka, Oxford University, UK/Emory  University – United States and with the participation of the representatives of the Directorate-General for Justice & Consumers of the European Commission
17:15-17:30 Concluding remarks

This project is funded by the European Union.

Attendance to the event is free but registration is mandatory. The number of registrations is limited. Therefore, please register as soon as possible via the following link.

For questions, please contact us.

The Effect of Choice of Court Agreements on Third Parties: Lecture by Professor Yeo Tiong Min

The Yong Pung How Professorship of Law Lecture 2022 will be held online on Wednesday 25 May 2022 at 5:00 to 6:30pm Singapore time. The speaker, Professor Yeo Tiong Min, SC (Hon), who holds the Yong Pung How Professorship of Law chair at the Singapore Management University, will speak on ‘ The Effect of Choice of Court Agreements on Third Parties’. The synopsis for the talk is as follows:

“The effect of choice of court agreements on the exercise of jurisdiction of the Singapore court between contracting parties at common law has received clarification in Singapore law in recent years. The position is also clear under the SICC Rules and the Choice of Court Agreements Act. The effect on third parties is less clear. In this lecture, the effect of choice of court agreements on the position of third parties under the legal regimes above will be considered, from the perspective of both conflict of laws and the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act in domestic Singapore law.”

Attendance at the webinar is complimentary. More information and the link to register can be found here.