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Written by Sophie Hunter

Since 2017, the Supreme People’s Court of China (SPC) has established three internet courts in Hangzhou, Beijing and Guangzhou which are major hubs for e-commerce, the internet industry and the headquarters of giant internet companies like Alibaba and Baidu. With an internet penetration of 54% and approximately 800 million internet users, the introduction of such courts helps to reduce the rising number of online disputes between citizens in a time and cost efficient way thanks to the admissibility of blockchain backed online data as evidence. China’s leading role in internet litigation comes at no surprise since regular courts favor documentary evidence over live testimony and already so much is done online.

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Hans van Loon, former Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), has just published an article entitled “Towards a global Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters” in the Collection of Papers of the Faculty of Law, Niš, No 82, Year LVIII, 2019 (see pp. 15-36). The paper develops a lecture held at the Law Faculty.

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Maximilian Schulze, an assistant of Dr. Susanne Gössl, LL.M. (Tulane), University of Bonn, has kindly provided us with the following report.

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The Centre for European Policy (CEP) in Freiburg (Breisgau) is the European-policy think tank of the German non-profit foundation “Stiftung Ordnungspolitik”. It has just released its policy brief on the Proposal COM(2018) 96 of 12 March 2018 for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the law applicable to the third-party effects of assignments of claims. The CEP’s main conclusion reads as follows:

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The 2nd Dialogue on International Family Law

On 10 and 11 May 2019, the 2nd Dialogue on International Family Law took place at the University of Marburg (Germany). The dialogue serves as a forum for the exchange between high-level practitioners and academics active in the field of international family law; it is organised on an annual basis by Professors Christine Budzikiewicz (Marburg) and Bettina Heiderhoff (Münster), Dr. Frank Klinkhammer, a judge at the German Federal Supreme Court and an honorary professor in Marburg, and Dr. Kerstin Niethammer-Jürgens, a renowned family lawyer in Potsdam/Berlin. This year’s meeting focused on the well-being of the child in international family law, the pending revision of the Brussels IIbis Regulation and conflict of laws with regard to matrimonial property.

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Written by Leonhard Huebner, Institute for Comparative Law, Conflict of Laws and International Business Law (Heidelberg University)

The third-party effects of the assignment are one of the “most discussed questions of international contract law” as it concerns the “most important gap of the Rome I Regulation”. This gap is regrettable not only for dogmatic reasons, but above all for practical reasons. The factoring industry has provided more than 217 billion euros of working capital to finance more than 200,000 companies in the EU in 2017 alone. After a long struggle in March of 2018, the European Commission, therefore, published a corresponding draft regulation (COM(2018)0096; in the following Draft Regulation). Based on a recent article (ZEuP 2019, 41) the following post explores whether the Draft Regulation creates the necessary legal certainty in this economically important area of law and thus contributes to the further development of European private international law (see also this post by Robert Freitag).

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Prof. Dr. Marc-Philippe Weller and Markus Lieberknecht, Heidelberg University, have kindly provided us with the following blog post which is a condensed abstract of the authors’ article in the Juristenzeitung (JZ) 2019, p. 317 et seqq. which explores the topic in greater detail and includes comprehensive references to the relevant case law and literature.

In one of the most controversial German judgments of 2018, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt held that the air carrier Kuwait Airways could refuse transportation to an Israeli citizen living in Germany because fulfilling the contract would violate an anti-Israel boycott statute enacted by Kuwait in 1964. The Israeli citizen had validly booked a flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok with a layover in Kuwait City. However, Kuwait Airways hindered the Israeli passenger from boarding the aircraft in Frankfurt. According to the judgment of the Frankfurt Court, Kuwait Airways acted in line with the German legal framework: specific performance of the contract of carriage was deemed to be impossible because of the Kuwait boycott statute.

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Written by Dr Rishi Gulati, LSE Fellow in Law, London School of Economics; Barrister, Victorian Bar, Australia

The regulation of public international organisations (IOs) has been brought into sharp focus following the landmark US Supreme Court ruling in Jam v International Finance Corporation586 US (2019) (Jam). Jam is remarkable because the virtually absolute immunities enjoyed by some important IOs have now been limited in the US (where several IOs are based), giving some hope that access to justice for the victims of institutional action may finally become a reality. Jam has no doubt reinvigorated the debate about the regulation of IOs. This post calls for private international law to play its part in that broader debate. After briefly setting out the decision in Jam, a call for a greater role for private international law in the governance of IOs is made.

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Written by Matthew S. Erie, Associate Professor of Modern Chinese Studies and Fellow at St. Cross College, University of Oxford

On April 2, 2019, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“HKSAR”) and the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China” (“Supreme People’s Court”) signed an Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance in Court-ordered Interim Measures in Aid of Arbitral Proceedings by the Courts of the Mainland and of the HKSAR (hereinafter, “the Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance,” see English translation here). This is a momentous development in the growth of international commercial arbitration in both mainland China (also, the “PRC”) and Hong Kong as it is the first time that such a mechanism has been put in place to allow Chinese courts to render interim relief to support arbitrations seated outside of the PRC.

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Interpreting Forum Selection Clauses

Written by John Coyle, the Reef C. Ivey II Term Professor of Law, Associate Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law

Last week, I wrote about the interpretive rules that U.S. courts use to construe ambiguous choice-of-law clauses.  Choice-of-law clauses are not, however, the only means by which contracting parties may exercise their autonomy under the rules of private international law.  Parties may also select via contract the forum in which their disputes will be resolved.  In the United States, these contractual provisions are generally known as forum selection clauses.  Elsewhere in the world, such provisions are generally known as choice-of-court clauses.  Since this post is largely focused on U.S. practice, I utilize the former term.

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