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Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Conflict of Laws

by Tobias Lutzi, University of Cologne

Since the sad news of her passing, lawyers all around the world have mourned the loss of one of the most iconic and influential members of the legal profession and a true champion of gender equality. Through her work as a scholar and a justice, just as much as through her personal struggles and achievements, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has inspired generations of lawyers.

On top of being a global icon of women’s rights and a highly influential voice on a wide range of issues, Ginsburg has also expressed her views on questions relating to the interaction between different legal systems, both within the US and internationally, on several occasions. In fact, two of her early law-review articles focus entirely on two perennial problems of private international law.

The Bee That’s Buzzing in Our Bonnets. Some Thoughts about Characterisation after the Advocate General’s Wikingerhof Opinion

Last week, AG Saugsmandsgaard Øe rendered his Opinion on Case C-59/19 Wikingerhof, which we first reported in this post by Krzysztof Pacula. The following post has been written by Michiel Poesen, PhD Candidate at KU Leuven, who has been so kind as to share with us some further thoughts on the underlying problem of characterisation.

Characterisation is not just a bee that has been buzzing in conflicts scholars’ bonnets, as Forsyth observed in his 1998 LQR article. Given its central role in how we have been thinking about conflicts for over a century, it has pride of place in jurisprudence and literature. The Wikingerhof v Booking.com case (C-59/19) is the latest addition to a long string of European cases concerning the characterisation of actions as ‘matters relating to a contract’ under Article 7(1) of the Brussels Ia Regulation n° 1215/2012.

Facebook’s further attempts to resist the jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia futile

Earlier in the year, Associate Professor Jeanne Huang reported on the Australian Information Commission’s action against Facebook Inc in the Federal Court of Australia. In particular, Huang covered Australian Information Commission v Facebook Inc [2020] FCA 531, which concerned an ex parte application for service outside of the jurisdiction and an application for substituted service.

In April, Thawley J granted the Commission leave to serve the first respondent (Facebook Inc) in the United States, and the second respondent (Facebook Ireland Ltd) in the Republic of Ireland. Through orders for substituted service, the Commission was also granted leave to serve the relevant documents by email (with respect to Facebook Inc) and by mail (with respect to Facebook Ireland Ltd).

News

Out now: Yearbook of Private International Law XXI (2019/2020)

  

TABLE OF CONTENTS

________________

Foreword …………………………………………………………………………………………… xi

Abbreviations …………………………………………………………………………………… xiii

Doctrine

Janeen CARRUTHERS

Discerning the Meaning of “Habitual Residence of the Child” in

UK Courts – A Case for the Oracle of Delphi ……………………………………… 1

Christian KOHLER

The EU Succession Regulation before the German Courts 2016-2019 ….. 37

Mihail DANOV

Cross-Border Litigation – New Data, Initial Brexit Implications in

England and Wales and Long-Term Policy Choices …………………………… 57

Nikitas E. HATZIMIHAIL

On the Doctrinal Beginnings of the Conflict of Laws ……………………….. 101

Interim Measures in International Commercial Litigation

Proceedings of the SICL’s 31st Private International Law Day –

UK Supreme Court on law applicable to arbitration agreements

Written by Stephen Armstrong, lawyer practicing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with an interest in international arbitration. [Linkedin]

On Friday, October 9, 2020, the United Kingdom Supreme Court released an interesting decision concerning the applicable law governing arbitration agreements in international contracts and the jurisdiction of the courts of the seat of the arbitration to grant anti-suit injunctions. The case is Enka Insaat Ve Sanayi A.S. v 000 Insurance Company Chubb, [2020] UKSC 38.

The full text of the Supreme Court’s decision is available here.

A digestible summary of the case, including the facts, the breakdown of votes, and the reasons, is available here.

The End of the “Sahyouni Saga”

The German Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) in August finally decided the case “Sahyouni” that made it twice to the ECJ (Sahyouni I  and Sahyouni II). The BGH decision (German text here) applied the new German rules on private divorces. The German legislator had enacted these rules after the ECJ declared the Rome III Regulation as only applicable on divorces by a court. Additionally, the court took the opportunity to comment on several other private international law issues. The probably most interesting issues of the case are (1) the new German rules, (2) the treatment of parties with more than one nationality if the connecting factor is nationality and (3) the question whether the unilateral private divorce finally was recognized.

  1. German law regarding “private divorces”