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The Justice Initiative Frankfurt am Main 2017

Written by Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Burkhard Hess, Executive Director Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law

Against the backdrop of Brexit, an initiative has been launched to strengthen Frankfurt as a hot spot for commercial litigation in the European Judicial Area. On March 30, 2017, the Minister of Justice of the Federal State Hessen, Ms Kühne-Hörmann, organized a conference at which the Justice Initiative was presented. More  than 120 stakeholders (lawyers, judges, businesses) attended the conference. The original paper was elaborated by Professors Burkhard Hess (Luxembourg), Thomas Pfeiffer (Heidelberg), Christian Duve (Heidelberg) and Roman Poseck (President of the Frankfurt Court of Appeal). Here, we are pleased to provide an English translation of the position paper with some additional information on German procedural law for an international audience. The proposal has, as a matter of principle, been endorsed by the Minister of Justice. Its proposals are now being discussed and shall be implemented in the next months to come. The paper reads as follows: (more…)

Paris, the Jurisdiction of Choice?

On January 17th, the President of the Paris Commercial Court (Tribunal de commerce) inaugurated a new international division.

The new division, which is in fact the 3rd division of the court (3ème Chambre), is to be staffed with nine judges who speak foreign languages, and will therefore be able to assess evidence written in a foreign language. For now, the languages will be English, German and Spanish, as one juge speaking Spanish and two speaking German are currently on the court.

In an interview to the Fondation de droit continental (Civil law initiative), the President of the Court explained that the point was to make French justice more competitive and attract international cases. It also made clear that France was following Germany’s lead, where several international divisions were established in 2009 in Hamburg and Cologne.

French Commercial Courts

It should be pointed out to readers unfamiliar with the French legal system that French commercial courts are not staffed with professional judges, but with members of the business community working part-time at the court (and for free). In Paris, however, many of these judges work in the legal department of their company, and are thus fine lawyers.

Also, French commercial courts (and French civil courts generally) virtually never hear witnesses, so the issue of the language in which they may address the court does not arise.

Some issues

So, the new international division will be able to read documents in several foreign languages. However, nothing suggests that parties or lawyers will be able either to speak, or to write pleadings, in any other language than French. Lawyers arguing these cases will still need to file their pleadings in French, and thus to translate them in English beforehand for their clients. Furthermore, the interview of the Court’s President seems to suggest that using a foreign language will not be a right for the parties. Quite to the contrary, it seems that it will not be possible if one of the parties disagrees, and demands documents be translated in French.

Will that be enough to attract additional commercial cases to Paris?

I wonder whether introducing class actions in French civil procedure would have been more efficient in this respect.

For the full interview of the Court’s President, see after the jump.

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News

Save the date: Conference on ‘Regulation BI-bis: a standard for free circulation of judgments and mutual trust in the EU’, 24 September 2020.

The Conference represents the final event of the JUDGTRUST Project (2018-2020), funded by the Justice Programme of the European Union (2014-2020). The objective of the Project is to identify best practices and to provide guidelines in the interpretation and application of Regulation 1215/2012 (BI-bis). The JUDGTRUST Project is coordinated by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and carried out in partnership with the University of Hamburg, the University of Antwerp and the Internationaal Juridisch Instituut.

The Conference will host panels on, inter alia, the scope of application, relationship with other instruments, rules on jurisdiction, provisional measures, as well as enforcement and recognition of foreign judgments. Additionally, the key findings from the National Reports of the EU Member States will be presented. It aims to bring together academics, policy makers and legal practitioners. It will take place on Thursday 24 September 2020 at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut, The Hague. 

Humboldt-University Berlin: PhD positions (fellowships) for private (international) lawyers

The Graduate Programm “Dynamic Integration” at the Faculty of Law of Humboldt-University Berlin wishes to fill two PhD positions (fellowships), funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). Applications from private (international) lawyers are especially welcomed.

For more information see here.

Opinion of Advocate General Szpunar in the case C-641/18 – Rina

Advocate General Szpunar proposes that the Court should rule that the victims of the sinking of a ship flying the Panamanian flag can bring an action for damages under the Brussels I Regulation as a “civil and commercial matter” in the sense of Article 1 before the Italian courts against the Italian bodies which classified and certified that ship.

At para. 47, the Opinion deals with the effect of customary international law on the scope ratione materiae of the Brussels I Regulation and holds: