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Fourth Issue of 2015’s Rivista di diritto internazionale privato e processuale – Proceedings of the conference “For a New Private International Law” (Milan, 2014)

(I am grateful to Prof. Francesca Villata – University of Milan – for the following presentation of the latest issue of the RDIPP)

Rivista di diritto internazionale privato e processualeThe fourth issue of 2015 of the Rivista di diritto internazionale privato e processuale (RDIPP, published by CEDAM) was just released.

This issue of the Rivista features the texts – updated and integrated with a comprehensive bibliography – of the speeches delivered during the conference “For a New Private International Law” that was hosted at the University of Milan in 2014 to celebrate the Rivista’s fiftieth anniversary.

The speeches have been published in four sections, in the order in which they were delivered.

The first section, on “Fundamentals of Law No 218/1995 and General Questions of Private International Law”, features the following contributions:

Fausto Pocar, Professor Emeritus at the University of Milan, ‘La Rivista e l’evoluzione del diritto internazionale privato in Italia e in Europa’ (The Rivista and the Evolution of Private International Law in Italy and Europe; in Italian).

Fifty years after the foundation of the Rivista, this article portrays the reasons that led to the publication of this journal and its core features, in particular its unfettered nature and the breadth of its thought with respect to the definition of private international law. In this regard the Rivista – by promptly drawing attention to the significant contribution provided by the law of the European Union in the area of jurisdiction and conflict of laws – succeeded in anticipating the subsequent developments, which resulted in the impressive legislation of the European Union in the field of private international law since the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999. These developments have significantly affected the Italian domestic legislation as laid down in Law No 218 of 1995. As a result of such impact, the Italian system of private international law shall undergo a further revision in order to harmonize it with the European legislative acts, as well as with recent international conventions adopted in the framework of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, to which the European Union – a Member of the Conference – is party.

Roberto Baratta, Professor at the Scuola Nazionale dell’Amministrazione, ‘Note sull’evoluzione del diritto internazionale privato in chiave europea’ (Remarks on the Evolution of Private International Law in a European Perspective; in Italian).

National sovereignties have been eroded in the last decades. Domestic systems of conflict of laws are no exceptions. While contributing with some remarks on certain evolving processes that are affecting the private international law systems, this paper notes that within the EU – however fragmentary its legislation in the field of civil justice may be – the erosion of national competences follows as a matter of course. It then argues that the EU points to setting up a common space in which inter alia fundamental rights and mutual recognition play a major role. Thus, a supranational system of private international law is gradually being forged with the aim to ensure the continuity of legal relationships duly created in a Member State. As a result, domestic systems of private international law are deemed to become complementary in character. Their conceptualization as a kind of inter-local rules, the application of which cannot raise obstacles to the continuity principle, appears logically conceivable.

Marc Fallon, Professor at the Catholic University of Louvain, ‘La révision de loi italienne de droit international privé au regard du droit comparé et européen des conflits de lois’ (The Recast of the Italian Private International Law with Regard to Comparative and European Conflict of Laws; in French). (more…)


TDM’s Latin America Special

Prepared by guest editors Dr. Ignacio Torterola and Quinn Smith, this special addresses the various challenges and changes at work in dispute resolution in Latin America. A second volume that continues many of the themes from different angles and perspectives is also nearing completion. Download a free Excerpt here


* TDM Latin America Special – Introduction by I. Torterola, Q. Smith, GST LLP


* Two Solutions for One Problem: Latin America’s Reactions to Concerns over Investor-State Arbitration
by A. López Ortiz, J.J. Caicedo and W. Ahern, Mayer Brown

* Towards a Resolution of Outstanding Nationalization Claims Against Cuba
by M. Marigo and L. Friedman, Freshfields US LLP


Conference for Young PIL Scholars: “Politics and Private International Law (?)” – Call for Papers

The following announcement has been kindly provided by Dr. Susanne Lilian Gössl, LL.M., University of Bonn:

Call for Papers

On 6th and 7th April 2017, for the first time a young scholars’ conference in the field of Private International Law (PIL) will be held at the University of Bonn.

The general topic will be

Politics and Private International Law (?)

We hereby invite interested junior researchers to send us their proposals for conference papers. We envisage presentations of half an hour each in German language with subsequent discussion on the respective subject. The presented papers will be published in a conference transcript by Mohr Siebeck.


If we have stimulated your interest we are looking forward to your application to


OGEL and TDM Special Issue: Focus on Renewable Energy Disputes

With renewable energy disputes seemingly everywhere these days, OGEL and TDM have published a special joint issue focusing on these disputes at the level of international, European and national law. Below is the table of contents:

    Introduction – Renewable Energy Disputes in the Europe and beyond: An Overview of Current Cases, by K. Talus, University of Eastern Finland

    Renewable Energy Disputes in the World Trade Organization, by R. Leal-Arcas, Queen Mary University of London, and A. Filis

    Aggressive Legalism: China’s Proactive Role in Renewable Energy Trade Disputes?, by C. Wu, Academia Sinica, and K. Yang, Soochow University (Taipei)

    Mapping Emerging Countries’ Role in Renewable Energy Trade Disputes, by B. Olmos Giupponi, University of Stirling


Dutch draft bill on collective action for compensation – a note on extraterritorial application

As many readers will know, the Dutch collective settlement scheme – laid down in the Dutch collective settlement act (Wet collective afhandeling massaschade, WCAM) – has attracted a lot of international attention in recent years as a result of several global settlements, including those in the Shell and Converium securities cases. Once the Amsterdam Court of Appeal (that has exclusive competence in these cases) declares the settlement binding, it binds all interested parties, except those beneficiaries that have exercised the right to opt-out. When the WCAM was enacted almost ten years ago, the Dutch legislature deliberately choose not to include a collective action for the compensation of damages to avoid some of the problematic issues associated with US class actions and settlements.


Latest Issue of “Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts” (1/2014)

Recently, the January/February issue of the German law journal “Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts” (IPRax) was published.

  •  Heinz-Peter Mansel/Karsten Thorn/Rolf Wagner: “European conflict of laws 2013: Respite from the status quo”

The article provides an overview of developments in Brussels in the field of judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters from November 2012 until November 2013. It summarizes current projects and new instruments that are presently making their way through the EU legislative process. It also refers to the laws enacted at the national level in Germany as a result of new European instru-ments. Furthermore, the authors look at areas of law where the EU has made use of its external competence. They discuss both important decisions and pending cases before the ECJ as well as important decisions from German courts pertaining to the subject matter of the article. In addition, the article also looks at current projects and the latest developments at the Hague Conference of Private International Law.

  • Christoph Schoppe: “The intertemporal provisions regarding choice-of-law clauses under Europeanised inheritance law”

This article examines the practical implications of the intertemporal provisions of the new European Regulation No. 650/2012 on succession and wills in private international law. Its emphasis lies on those rules regarding choice-of-law clauses. Although hardly noticed yet, such provisions can have a significant impact on a testator’s estate planning, especially during a transitional period until 15 th August 2015. Thus, firstly, the article analyses risks and opportunities for testators who seek to have the law of their nationality applied. Secondly, it addresses those testators who prefer to apply another law, which will be unavailable to them under the European Regulation after the transitional period has lapsed. As a common ground underlying all practical issues, it is advocated that only a broad interpretation of any intertemporal provision under the Regulation protects the reasonable reliance-interest of testators regarding their estate planning. Thirdly, some practical points are addressed that might prove difficult when the testator did not choose the law applicable to his estate.

  •  Anatol Dutta: “The liability of American credit rating agencies in Europe”

The question whether credit rating agencies are liable for flawed ratings is mainly discussed in substantive law. Yet, from a European perspective, the liability of credit rating agencies also raises issues of private international law as the rating market is dominated by the three American agencies Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings. Hence, it is not necessarily the case that a European liability regime – be it at the Member State level or at the European Union level such as the recently introduced Art. 35a of the European Regulation on Credit Rating Agencies – will adequately encompass the American agencies and their ratings, a question which shall be addressed in the present paper.

  •  Giesela Rühl: “Causal Link between Targeted Activity and Conclusion of the Contract: On the Scope of Application of Art. 15 et seq. Brussels I – Comment on the Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 17 October 2013 (Lokman Emrek ./. Vlado Sabranovic)”

On 17 October 2013 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down its long-awaited decision in Lokman Emrek ./. Vlado Sabranovic. The court held that consumers may sue professionals before their home courts according to Art. 15 (1) lit. c), 16 (1) Brussels I even if there is no causal link between the means used to direct the commercial or professional activity to the consumers’ member state and the conclusion of the contract. The case note comments on the judgment and criticizes the CJEU both in view of the reasoning applied and the results reached. It argues that the highest European court disregards the wording of Art. 15 (1) lit. c) Brussels I, the pertaining majority view in the literature as well as the requirement of uniform interpretation of European Union law. More specifically, it argues that the court ignores recital 25 Rome I that makes clear that Art. 6 (1) Rome I – and thus, Art. 15 (1) lit. c) Brussels I – requires a causal connection between targeted activity and conclusion of the contract. The case comment goes on to show that the CJEU also disregards the rationale of Art. 15 (1) lit. c) Brussels I: it allows consumers to sue at home even if they actively – and without motivation by their contracting partner – go abroad to purchase goods and services. The CJEU, thus, pushes the boundaries of consumer protection beyond what the European legislator had in mind – and beyond what is needed.

  • Georgia Koutsoukou: “Einspruch gegen den Europäischen Zahlungsbefehl als rügelose Einlassung?” – the English abstract reads as follows:

In the case Goldbet Sportwetten ./. Massimo Sperindeo, the CJEU had to decide on the applicability of Art. 24 of the Brussels I Regulation to Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 creating a European order for payment procedure. In its decision, the CJEU ruled that a statement of opposition to a European order for payment does not amount to entering an appearance within the meaning of Article 24 of the Brussels I Regulation. In the Court’s view, this rule applies to both a reasoned and an unreasoned statement of opposition. The Court’s decision adheres to the main principles of the European order for payment procedure. In this paper, the author illustrates and evaluates the legal reasoning of the decision and concludes that the Court should have elaborated the relationship between the European order for payment procedure and the ordinary civil proceeding in a less abstruse manner.

  • Herbert Roth: “Mahnverfahren im System des Art. 34 Nr. 2 EuGVVO” – the English abstract reads as follows:

The judgement of the Oberlandesgericht (Higher Regional Court) Düsseldorf confers the requirements concerning the possibility of the defendent to lodge a legal remedy stated in Art. 34 No 2 of the European Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgements in civil and commercial matters to decisions in foreign order for payment procedures. Therefore the defendant’s pure knowledge of the existence of the payment order in not sufficient. Essential is the knowledge of the content of the payment order as being officially served. However some exceptions are necessary, because the payment order gives no reasons and is issued on the base of a prima facie examination of the merits of the claim. The defendant is not obliged to contest the claim, if it is not clearly identified in the payment order. The refusal of enforcement can be avoided by paying attention to the requirements of § 10 para 1 of the German AVAG (Gesetz zur Ausführung zwischenstaatlicher Verträge und zur Durchführung von Verordnungen und Abkommen der Europäischen Gemeinschaft auf dem Gebiet der Anerkennung und Vollstreckung in Zivil- und Handelssachen).



Another Alien Tort Statute Case Dismissed and a Preliminary Scorecard

As readers of this blog are aware, the United States Supreme Court in the recent case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum applied the presumption against extraterritoriality to limit the reach of the Alien Tort Statute.  In short, the Court held that the ATS did not apply to violations of the law of nations occurring within the territory of a foreign sovereign.

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion in the case of Balintulo v. Daimler AG holding that the Kiobel decision barred a class action against Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company, and IBM Corporation for alleged violations of the law of nations in selling cars and computers to the South African government during the Apartheid era.  Rather than dismiss the case itself, the Second Circuit remanded the case to the district court to entertain a motion for judgment on the pleadings.  This case is important because it rejected the plaintiffs’ theory that “the ATS still reaches extraterritorial conduct when the defendant is an American national.”  Slip op. at 20.  It is also important because it explains that “[b]ecause the defendants’ putative agents did not commit any relevant conduct within the United States giving rise to a violation of customary international law . . . the defendants cannot be vicariously liable for that conduct under the ATS.”  Slip op. at 24.

This case as well as the Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in Sarei v. Rio Tinto (similarly dismissing an ATS suit) would seem to point to substantial contraction in ATS litigation.  But, not so fast.


The Stream-of-Commerce Doctrine under McIntyre and the First Reactions of U.S. Courts to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling

Cristina M. Mariottini is a Senior researcher at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg on International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law

How the U.S. Supreme Court Has Relinquished Reciprocity in Jurisdiction in Cross-Border Products Liability Cases and Possible Future U.S. Federal Legislation on the Matter

Products liability is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available to the public are held accountable for the injuries caused by those products. As Justice Kennedy points out at the outset of his opinion in J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro et. al., 131 S. Ct. 2780 (2011), whether a natural or legal person is subject to jurisdiction in a State is a question that frequently arises in products liability litigation. This question arises even with an out-of-forum defendant, i.e. despite the fact that the defendant was not present in the State, either at the time of suit or at the time of the alleged injury, and did not consent to the exercise of jurisdiction. Before the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in McIntyre, the issue of specific in personam jurisdiction of U.S. courts over out-of-forum defendants in products liability cases was addressed several times by the U.S. Supreme Court, and particularly in International Shoe Company v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945), World-Wide Volkswagen v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286 (1980) and Asahi Metal Industry Co. v. Superior Court of California, Solano Cty, 480 U.S. 102 (1987). With its decisions, the Court framed the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause and introduced the stream-of-commerce doctrine. As the Court held, in products liability cases over an out-of-forum defendant it is the defendant’s purposeful availment that makes jurisdiction constitutionally proper and notably consistent with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice; moreover, the Court held that the transmission of goods permits the exercise of jurisdiction only where the defendant targeted the forum. It is not enough that the defendant might have predicted that its goods would reach the forum State. However, in Asahi’s plurality opinion,the Court developed two separate branches in the stream-of-commerce analysis. Holding that in a products liability case, constitutionally proper jurisdiction may only be established over an out-of-forum defendant where the defendant purposefully availed himself of the market in the forum State; merely placing the product or its components into the stream of commerce that swept the products into the forum State was insufficient to meet the minimum contacts requirement. Justice O’Connor, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist, and Justices Powell and Scalia, drafted what is commonly known as the “foreseeability plus” or “stream-of-commerce plus” theory of minimum contacts. In a concurring opinion Justice Brennan, joined by Justices White, Marshall, and Blackmun, appeared to accept the principle that sales of large quantities of the defendant’s product in a U.S. State, even indirectly through the stream of commerce, would support jurisdiction in that State, depending on the nature and the quantity of those sales. However, in Justice Brennan’s opinion, even simply placing a product into the stream of commerce with knowledge that the product will eventually be used in the forum State constitutes purposeful availment for jurisdictional purposes. Regardless of the fact that eventually the Justices agreed that a constitutionally proper specific in personam jurisdiction could not be established in Asahi over the out-of-forum defendant, inconsistency has developed among the lower courts in regards to how the foreseeability test should be applied.

By granting certiorari on the petition from the New Jersey Supreme Court in J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro et al. (in which the N.J. Supreme Court found personal jurisdiction over the manufacturer), the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged the need to tackle the question of the stream-of-commerce doctrine, and particularly the issues left open by the lack of a majority opinion in Asahi. Nonetheless, on June 27, 2011, a – once again – deeply divided U.S. Supreme Court handed down its opinion in McIntyre, holding that, because a machinery manufacturer never engaged in activities in New Jersey with the intent to invoke or benefit from the protection of the State’s laws, New Jersey lacked personal jurisdiction over the company under the Due Process Clause. As the plurality opinion held, a foreign company that markets a product only to the United States generally, but does not purposefully direct its product to an individual State, is not subject to specific jurisdiction in the State where its product causes an injury.

Unfortunately, the McIntyre decision failed to provide a comprehensible framework for practitioners and lower courts faced with specific in personam jurisdiction questions. In a sharply fragmented plurality opinion – where six Justices voted to overrule the lower court’s decision, but only four joined the lead opinion, and a dissenting opinion was filed by Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan – McIntyre marks a strong narrowing down of the stream-of-commerce doctrine. Justice Kennedy’s plurality made clear that the stream of commerce, per se, does not support personal jurisdiction, and that something more is required. While the concurrence did not fully support Justice Kennedy’s opinion, they too apparently rejected Justice Brennan’s view in Asahi that a product is subject to jurisdiction for a products liability action, so long as the manufacturer can reasonably foresee that the distribution of its products through a nationwide system might lead to those products being sold in any of the fifty States. The U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in McIntyre undoubtedly results in a positive development for foreign companies and a truly unfavorable outcome for U.S. plaintiffs in products liability cases.

At the outset of her dissenting opinion in McIntyre, Justice Ginsburg provocatively asks:

A foreign industrialist seeks to develop a market in the United States for machines it manufactures. It hopes to derive substantial revenue from sales it makes to United States purchasers. Where in the United States buyers reside does not matter to this manufacturer. Its goal is simply to sell as much as it can, wherever it can. It excludes no region or State from the market it wishes to reach. But, all things considered, it prefers to avoid products liability litigation in the United States. To that end, it engages a U.S. distributor to ship its machines stateside. Has it succeeded in escaping personal jurisdiction in a State where one of its products is sold and causes injury or even death to a local user? Under this Court’s pathmarking precedent in International Shoe Co. v. Washington, and subsequent decisions, one would expect the answer to be unequivocally, No.’ But instead, six Justices of this Court, in divergent opinions, tell us that the manufacturer has avoided the jurisdiction of our State courts, except perhaps in States where its products are sold in sizeable quantities.



Issue 2012.2 Nederlands Internationaal Privaatrecht

The second issue of 2012 of the Dutch journal on Private International Law, Nederlands Internationaal Privaatrecht includes the following articles on Recognition of (Dutch) Mass Settlement in Germany, the CLIP Principles, the European Patent Court and case note on Brussels I and the Unknown Address (Lindner):

Axel Halfmeier, Recognition of a WCAM settlement in Germany, p. 176-184. The abstract reads:

The Dutch ‘Wet Collectieve Afwikkeling Massaschade’(WCAM) [Collective Settlements Act] has emerged as a noteworthy model in the context of the European discussion on collective redress procedures. It provides an opportunity to settle mass claims in what appears to be an efficient procedure. As the WCAM has been used in important transnational cases, this article looks at questions of jurisdiction and the recognition of these court-approved settlements under the Brussels Regulation. It is argued that because of substantial participation by the courts, such declarations are to be treated as ‘judgments’ in the sense of the Brussels Regulation and thus are objects of recognition in all EU Member States. Written from the perspective of the German legal system, the article also takes the position that the opt-out system inherent in the WCAM procedure does not violate the German ordre public, but is compatible with fair trial principles under the German Constitution as well as under the European Human Rights Convention. The WCAM therefore appears as an attractive model for the future reform of collective proceedings on the European level.


Conference Announcement: Collective Redress in Cross-Border Context

Conference on Collective Redress in the Cross-Border Context
In the framework of the Henry G. Schermers Fellowship Programme<>, held this year by Professor S.I. Strong, the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL) and the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS)<> announce a workshop on the theme ‘Collective Redress in the Cross-Border Context: Arbitration, Litigation and Beyond.’
The workshop aims to explore the various means that can be used to resolve collective legal injuries that arise across national borders. The types of dispute resolution mechanisms to be discussed range from class and collective arbitration, mass arbitration and mass claims processes, class and collective litigation, and large-scale settlement and mediation. The workshop will bring together practitioners, academics, and representatives of non-governmental organisations, all of whom have an interest and expertise in public and private resolution of collective redress in the international realm.