The DSA/DMA Package and the Conflict of Laws

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking about the scope of application of the Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA), which together have been labelled the ‘European constitution for the internet’, at an event at the University of Strasbourg, organized by Etienne Farnoux and Delphine Porcheron. The preprint of my paper, forthcoming at Dalloz IP/IT, can be found on SSRN.

Disappointingly, both instruments only describe their territorial scope of application through a unilateral conflicts rule (following a strict ‘marketplace’ approach; see Art. 2(1) DSA and Art. 1(2) DMA), but neither of them contains any wider conflicts provision. This is despite the many problems of private international law that it raises, e.g. when referring to ‘illegal’ content in Art. 16 DSA, which unavoidably requires a look at the applicable law(s) in order to establish this illegality. I have tried to illustrate some of these problems in the paper linked above and Marion Ho-Dac & Matthias Lehmann have also mentioned some more over at the EAPIL Blog.

Unfortunately, though, this reliance on unilateral conflicts rules that merely define the scope of application of a given instrument but otherwise defer to the general instruments of private international law seems to have become the norm for instruments regulating digital technology. It can be found, most famously, in Art. 3 of the GDPR, but also in Art. 1(2) of the P2B Regulation, Art. 3(1) of the proposed ePrivacy Regulation, and in Art. 1(2) of the proposed Data Act. Instruments that have taken the form of directive (such as the DSM Copyright Directive) even rely entirely on the general instruments of private international law to coordinate the different national implementations.

These general instruments, however, are notoriously ill-equipped to deal with the many cross-border problems raised by digital technology, usually resulting in large overlaps between national laws. These overlaps risk to undermine the regulatory aims of the instrument in question, as the example of the DSM Copyright Directive aptly demonstrates: With some of the most controversial questions having ultimately been delegated to national law, there is a palpable risk of many of the compromises that have been found at the national level to be undermined by the concurrent application of other national laws pursuant to Art. 8 I Rome II.

The over-reliance on general instruments of PIL despite their well-established limitations also feels like a step back from the e-Commerce Directive, which at least made a valiant attempt to reduce the number of national laws, although arguably not at the level of the conflict of laws (see CJEU, eDate, paras. 64–67). The balance struck by, and underlying rationale of, the e-Commerce Directive can certainly be discussed – indeed, given its importance for the EU’s ambition of creating a ‘Digital Single Market’, it should be. The drafting of the DSA/DMA package would arguably have provided the perfect opportunity for this discussion.

The long tentacles of the Helms-Burton Act in Europe (III)

Written by Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar LLM(LSE) PhD(Navarra), Associate Professor KIMEP University (Kazakhstan),

There has recently been a new and disappointing development in the saga of the Sánchez-Hill, a Spanish-Cuban-US family who filed a lawsuit before Spanish courts against a Spanish Hotel company (Meliá Hotels) for unjust enrichment. Meliá is exploiting several hotels located on land owned by Gaviota S.A., a Cuban company owned by the Republic of Cuba. That land was expropriated by Cuba without compensation, following the revolution of 1959.

Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2022: Thirty-Sixth Annual Survey

The 36th Annual Survey of Choice of Law in the American Courts (2022) has been posted to SSRN.

The cases discussed in this year’s survey cover such topics as: (1) choice of law, (2) party autonomy, (3) extraterritoriality, (4) international human rights, (5) foreign sovereign immunity, (6) foreign official immunity, (7) adjudicative jurisdiction, and (8) the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. Happy reading!

John Coyle (University of North Carolina School of Law)
William Dodge (University of California, Davis School of Law)
Aaron Simowitz (Willamette University College of Law)


Available as of next week in Recueil des cours: Mario J. A. Oyarzábal, The Influence of Public International Law upon Private International Law in History and Theory and in the Formation and Application of the Law

The lectures of Mario J. A. Oyarzábal entitled “The influence of public international law upon private international law in history and theory and in the formation and application of the law”, which were delivered at The Hague Academy of International Law in 2020, will be published on 22 March 2023 in the Collected Courses of the Academy (Recueil des cours de l’Académie de droit international de La Haye, Vol. 428, 2023, pp. 129 et seq.).

Mario Oyarzábal is an Argentine diplomat and scholar, currently the Ambassador of the Argentine Republic to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The summary below has been provided by the author.

As its title suggests, this course explores the influence of public international law upon private international law, in the history and the theory as well as in the formation and the application of the law.

The course focuses on the biggest transformations that have taken place on the international plane over the course of the last century and assesses how that has affected the legal landscape, raising questions as to the scope and the potential of private international law and the suitability of the traditional sources of international law to address the role of private actors and the incursion of public law in the private arena.


Issue 1 of Uniform Law Review for 2023

The HCCH this month published some recent developments on private international law in Issue 1 of Uniform Law Review for 2023 as “News from the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH)”

Over the past year, the HCCH, supported by its Permanent Bureau, has continued its work for the progressive unification of the rules of private international law (PIL). This annual contribution to the Uniform Law Review provides an overview of the activities of the HCCH from 1 November 2021 to 30 November 2022 and anticipates some upcoming events, encompassing the HCCH’s three main areas of work: international family and child protection law, transnational litigation and apostille, and international commercial, digital, and financial law.


Originally posted in News and events – Nigeria Group on Private International Law (

On 4 March 2023, the Nigerian Group on Private International Law (“NGPIL”) colleagues were pleased to meet the winners of the 2023 NGPIL Conflict of Law’s Essay Prize. This year, we awarded two candidates, winner and first runner up, for excellent and engaging pieces on PIL and Nigeria.

Our winner, Oluwabusola Fagbemi, an LLM student from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State emerged as the winner of this year’s competition. She wrote on “A Comparative Analysis of Product Liability in the Conflict of Laws”, a piece that the deciding panel found to engage robust research, comprising of Nigeria common law, EU approach, English approach and US approach. Our winner was awarded 185,000NGN. In her words “It is an honour to be selected for The NGPIL Prize for the year 2022/2023. Thank you very much…It was also great to get to know them [NGPIL] and hear of their exciting work, and the impact that they are making in the PIL space globally… believe that The NGPIL is the right place for me to grow, learn, advance my career, and develop my interests in PIL. I will definitely keep in touch and remain connected, and I am looking forward to future collaboration.”

Adeyinka Adeoye from the Nigerian School of Law, Kano Campus received the 1st runner prize on her paper entitled “Product Liability in Private International Law” from a Nigerian perspective. She was awarded 65,000NGN. In her words “I am super excited that my essay emerged first runner-up. This news came at the best possible time“.

Huge congratulations to Busola and Adeyinka!