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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

Two Legal Officer positions are open at HCCH

This week the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) announced that there are two Legal Officer vacancies and noted that their “duties will include general assistance in various areas of the work programme of the HCCH as determined by the Council on General Affairs and Policy (CGAP). Areas of priority include international commercial litigation / civil procedure and child support (maintenance) matters.”

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 25 March 2020 (12.00 a.m. CET).

More information is available here.

Internship applications are now open at HCCH

The Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH, head office in The Hague, the Netherlands) is seeking legal interns for the period July to December 2020. Applications are now open!

The deadline for applications is Friday 27 March 2020 (18:00 CET).

More information is available here.

Cultural Identity in Private International Family Law

The era of globalization is characterized by the dynamic movement of people across borders and migration in various parts of the world. The juxtaposition and coexistence of different ethnic, cultural or religious groups within society poses the challenge of accommodating divergent legal, religious and customary norms. Of key concern is how far the fundamental values of the receiving state ought to be imposed on all persons on the soil, and to what extent the customs, beliefs and the cultural identity of individuals belonging to minority groups should be respected. This challenge arguably requires reconsidering and reevaluating the conventional methods of private international law that are grounded in the territorial “localization” of legal relationships. Against this background, Yuko Nishitani (Professor at Kyoto University, Japan) envisaged studying various conflict of laws issues from the viewpoint of cultural identity in private international family law and delivered a lecture at the Hague Academy of International Law on “Identité culturelle en droit international privé de la famille”, which has been published in Recueil des cours, Vol. 401 (2019), pp. 127-450.