Review of Choice of Law in International Commercial Contracts

While doing research on a choice of law article, I found it necessary to consult a book generally co-edited by Professors Daniel Girsberger, Thomas Graziano, Jan Neels on Choice of Law in International Commercial Contracts (‘Girsberger et al’). The book was officially published on 22 March 2021. I began reading sections of the book related to tacit choice of law sometime in December 2022 and found the work truly global and compelling. At the beginning of June this year, I decided to read the whole book and finished reading it today. It is 1376 pages long!

To cut the whole story short, the book is the bible on choice of law in international commercial contracts. It covers over 60 countries, including regional and supranational bodies’ rules on choice of law. Professor Symoen Symeonides had previously written a single authored award winning book on Codifying Choice of Law Around the World, but that work did not cover as much as Girsberger et al’s book in terms of the number of countries,  and regional and supranational instruments (or principles) covered.


Denial of Natural Justice as a Defence to Enforcement of a Chinese Judgment in Australia

In Yin v Wu [2023] VSCA 130, the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria set aside a judgment[1] which had affirmed the enforcement a Chinese judgment by an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.[2] This was a rare instance of an Australian court considering the defence to enforcement of a foreign judgment on the basis that the judgment debtor was denied natural justice—or procedural fairness—before the foreign court.


The dispute concerned a payment made by a Chinese national living in China, Di Wu, to a Chinese national living in Australia, Ke Yin. The payment was made pursuant to a foreign exchange agreement: Yin had promised to pay Wu a sum of US Dollars in exchange for Wu’s Chinese RMB.

The arrangement was made unusually through a series of Telegram and WhatsApp messages, from accounts with different numbers and aliases. (In Australia, we would say that the arrangement sounded ‘suss’.) The agreement was seemingly contrary to Chinese law, which may have contributed to the clandestine character of communications underlying the agreement; see [30].


Change of gender in private international law: a problem arises between Scotland and England

Written by Professor Eric Clive

The Secretary of State for Scotland, a Minister of the United Kingdom government, has made an order under section 35 of the Scotland Act 1998 blocking Royal Assent to the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill 2022, a Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament by a large majority. The Scottish government has challenged the order by means of a petition for judicial review. The case is constitutionally important and may well go to the United Kingdom Supreme court. It also raises interesting questions of private international law.

At present the rules on obtaining a gender recognition certificate, which has the effect of changing the applicant’s legal gender, are more or less the same in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Scottish Bill would replace the rules for Scotland by less restrictive, de-medicalised rules. An unfortunate side effect is that Scottish certificates would no longer have automatic effect by statute in other parts of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom government could remedy this by legislation but there is no indication that it intends to do so. Its position is that it does not like the Scottish Bill.

One of the reasons given by the Secretary of State for making the order is that having two different systems for issuing gender recognition certificates within the United Kingdom would cause serious problems. A person, he assumes, might be legally of one gender in England and another in Scotland. There would therefore be difficulties for some organisations operating at United Kingdom level – for example, in the fields of tax, benefits and pensions. This immediately strikes a private lawyer as odd. Scotland and England have had different systems in the law of persons for centuries – in the laws on marriage, divorce, legitimacy, incapacity and other matters of personal status – and they have not given rise to serious problems. This is because the rules of private international law, even in the absence of statutory provision, did not allow them to.



Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts (IPRax) 5/2023: Abstracts

The latest issue of the „Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts“ (IPRax) features the following articles:

(These abstracts can also be found at the IPRax-website under the following link:


European Yearbook of International Economic Law 2024: Call for abstracts (and papers)

The editors of the European Yearbook of International Economic Law (EYIEL) welcome abstracts from scholars and practitioners at all stages of their career for the EYIL 2024. This year’s Focus Section will concentrate on International and European Economic Law – Moving Towards Integration? In the General Section, the EYIEL will address Current Challenges, Developments and Events in European and International Economic Law.


Just released: International Child Abduction by Mayela Celis (Madrid: Dykinson, 2023 – in Spanish)

I am thrilled to announce that my book on international child abduction has been published this week (María Mayela Celis Aguilar (aka Mayela Celis), Madrid: Dykinson, 2023, 604 pp. – in Spanish). More information is available here.

I am most grateful to Prof. Marina Vargas Gómez-Urrutia and Hans van Loon for having written the Foreword of this book and for their support throughout this process. This book is dedicated to the memory of Adair Dyer, former Deputy Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), whom some of you may have known.

As stated in the publisher’s website (translation into English): “This monograph conducts a critical study of the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction by analysing both case law and doctrine. In particular, it examines key concepts of the Convention, such as habitual residence and rights of custody, as well as other problems that arise more frequently in its application. But not before carrying out a detailed study of the phenomenon of international child abduction from a multidisciplinary and human rights approach.