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HCCH Monthly Update: August 2021

Conventions & Instruments

On 23 July 2021, New Zealand deposited its instrument of ratification of the HCCH 2007 Child Support Convention. With the ratification of New Zealand, 42 states and the European Union are bound by the Child Support Convention. It will enter into force for New Zealand on 1 November 2021. More information is available here.

On 1 August 2021, the HCCH 1996 Child Protection Convention entered into force for Costa Rica. It currently has 53 Contracting Parties. More information is available here.

Meetings & Events

As announced on 3 August 2021, registration for the 12th International Forum on the electronic Apostille Programme (e-APP) is now open to the general public. The event will be hosted online on 4 October 2021. The deadline for registration is Friday, 10 September 2021, 5.00 p.m. CEST. More information is available here.

Defending the Rule in Antony Gibbs

By Neerav Srivastava

 

The Rule in Antony Gibbs[1] (‘the Rule’) provides that if the proper law of a contract is Australian, then a discharge of the debt by a foreign jurisdiction will not be a discharge in Australia unless the creditor submitted to the foreign jurisdiction.[2] The Rule is much maligned, especially in insolvency circles, and has been described as “Victorian”.[3] In ‘Heritage and Vitality: Whether Antony Gibbs is a Presumption’[4] I seek to defend the Rule.

Presumption

The article begins by arguing that, in the modern context, that the Rule should be recognised as a Presumption as to party intentions.

Briefly, Gibbs was decided in the 1890s. At the time, the prevailing view was that the proper law of a contract was either the law of the place of the contract or its performance.[5] This approach was based on apportioning regulatory authority between sovereign States rather than party intentions. To apply a foreign proper law in a territory was regarded as contrary to territorial sovereignty. Freedom of contract and party intentions were becoming relevant to proper law but only to a limited extent.[6]

As for Gibbs, Lord Esher’s language is consistent with the ‘Regulatory Approach’:

HCCH Monthly Update: July 2021

Membership

On 1 July 2021, Mongolia deposited its instrument of acceptance of the Statute, becoming the 89th Member of the HCCH. More information is available here.

Conventions & Instruments  

On 3 July 2021, the HCCH 1961 Apostille Convention entered into force for Jamaica. It currently has 120 Contracting Parties. More information is available here.

On 30 July 2021, the HCCH 1970 Evidence Convention entered into force for Georgia. It currently has 64 Contracting Parties. More information is available here.

Meetings & Events

From 5 to 9 July 2021, the Experts’ Group on Parentage/Surrogacy met for the ninth time, via videoconference. The Group discussed the scope of the possible draft Convention on legal parentage and the scope of the possible draft Protocol on legal parentage established as a result of an (international) surrogacy arrangement. More information is available here.

HCCH|Approach Initiative – Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the 1996 Child Protection Convention

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the HCCH 1996 Child Protection Convention, the HCCH is pleased to announce the launch of the Advancing and Promoting the Protection of All Children (Approach) Initiative!

The HCCH|Approach Initiative will consist of a series of activities and events culminating in the HCCH|Approach Event, to be held online on Tuesday 19 October 2021. Information on registration and the programme of the HCCH|Approach Event will be made available in due course.

Leading up to the HCCH|Approach Event, the Permanent Bureau of the HCCH is organising two competitions: the HCCH|Approach Essay Competition, and the HCCH|Approach Media and Design Competition. Entries can be submitted up until Friday 1 October 2021, 5.00 p.m. (CEST).

Epic’s Fight to #freefortnite: Challenging Exclusive Foreign Choice of Court Agreements under Australian Law

By Sarah McKibbin, University of Southern Queensland

Epic Games, the developer of the highly popular and lucrative online video game Fortnite, recently won an appeal against tech juggernaut, Apple, in Australia’s Federal Court.[1] Fortnite is played by over three million Apple iOS users in Australia.[2] In April 2021, Justice Perram awarded Apple a temporary three-month stay of proceedings on the basis of an exclusive foreign choice of court agreement in favour of the courts of the Northern District of California. Despite awarding this stay, Justice Perram was nevertheless ‘distinctly troubled in acceding to’ Apple’s application.[3] Epic appealed to the Full Court.

On 9 July, Justices Middleton, Jagot and Moshinsky found three errors of principle in Justice Perram’s consideration of the ‘strong reasons’ given by Epic for the proceedings to remain in the Federal Court — despite the exclusive foreign choice of court agreement.[4] Exercising its own discretion, the Full Court then found ‘strong reasons’ for the proceedings to remain in the Federal Court, particularly because enforcement of the choice of court agreement would ‘offend the public policy of the forum.’[5] They discerned this policy from various statutory provisions in Australia’s competition law as well as other public policy considerations.[6] The appeal highlights the tension that exists between holding parties to their promises to litigate abroad and countenancing breaches of contract where ‘serious issues of public policy’ are at play.[7]

1          Exclusive Choice of Foreign Court Agreements in Australia

Australians courts will enforce an exclusive choice of court agreement favouring a foreign court either by granting a stay of local proceedings or by awarding damages for breach of contract. The usual approach is for the Australian court to enforce the agreement and grant a stay of proceedings ‘unless strong reasons are shown why it should not.’[8] As Justice Allsop observed in Incitec v Alkimos Shipping Corp, ‘the question is one of the exercise of a discretion in all the circumstances, but recognising that the starting point is the fact that the parties have agreed to litigate elsewhere, and should, absent some strong countervailing circumstances, be held to their bargain.’[9] The burden of demonstrating strong reasons rests on the party resisting the stay.[10] Considerations of inconvenience and procedural differences between jurisdictions are unlikely to be sufficient as strong reasons.[11]

HCCH Monthly Update: June 2021

Conventions & Instruments  

On 31 May 2021, Georgia deposited its instrument of accession to the HCCH 1965 Service Convention and the HCCH 1970 Evidence Convention. With the accession of Georgia, the Service Convention now has 79 Contracting Parties. It will enter into force for Georgia on 1 January 2022, subject to the Article 28 procedure. For the Evidence Convention, with the accession of Georgia it now has 64 Contracting Parties. The Convention will enter into force for Georgia on 30 July 2021. More information is available here.

Meetings & Events 

On 1 June 2021, the HCCH and the Asian Business Law Institute co-hosted the webinar “HCCH 1970 Evidence Convention and Remote Taking of Evidence by Video-link”, part of the ongoing celebrations of the Evidence Convention’s golden anniversary. More information is available here.

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments about Forum Land

By Stephen G.A. Pitel, Western University

In common law Canada, it has long been established that a court will not recognize and enforce a foreign judgment concerning title to land in the forum.  The key case in support is Duke v Andler, [1932] SCR 734.

The ongoing application of that decision has now been called into question by the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Lanfer v Eilers, 2021 BCCA 241 (available here).  In the court below the judge relied on Duke and refused recognition and enforcement of a German decision that determined the ownership of land in British Columbia.  The Court of Appeal reversed and gave effect to the German decision.  This represents a significant change to Canadian law in this area.

No reciprocity for Swiss and German judgments in Jordan

Two recent rulings of the Supreme Court of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan refused recognition and enforcement of  German and Swiss judgments on maintenance on grounds of no reciprocity.

I. First case: No reciprocity with Germany

  1. The facts

The applicant was the wife of the respondent, both Jordanian nationals. She filed several applications before German courts in Stuttgart, and obtained a number of final judgments ordering payments for alimony to her benefit. Due to non payment by the husband, she filed an application for the recognition and enforcement of the German judgments in Jordan.  The Court of first instance declared the judgments enforceable in Jordan in 2009. The husband appealed. The Amman Court of Appeal issued its decision January 2015, revoking the appealed decision. The wife filed a second appeal (cassation).

Canada’s Top Court to Hear Enforcement Dispute

By Stephen G.A. Pitel, Western University

The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave in H.M.B. Holdings Limited v Attorney General of Antigua and Barbuda.  Information about the appeal is available here. The decision being appealed, rendered by the Court of Appeal for Ontario, is available here.  In the usual course the appeal will be heard in the late spring or early fall of 2021.  The grant of leave is notable because Canada’s top court only hears a small handful of conflict of laws cases in any given year.

In 2014 the Privy Council rendered a judgment in favour of HMB against Antigua and Barbuda for over US$35 million including interest.  In 2016 HMB sued at common law to have the Privy Council judgment recognized and enforced in British Columbia.  Antigua and Barbuda did not defend and default judgment was granted in 2017.  HMB then sought to register the British Columbia decision (not the Privy Council decision) under Ontario’s statutory scheme for the registration of judgments of other Canadian common law provinces.  This required the Ontario courts to engage in a process of statutory interpretation, with one of the central issues being whether the scheme applied to the recognition and enforcement judgment or only to what have been called “original judgments”.

Commission publishes a revised notice to stakeholders in the field of civil justice and private international law in view of UK’s withdrawal from the EU

The DIRECTORATE-GENERAL JUSTICE AND CONSUMERS of the Commission has recently published a further notice on the EU-Brexit saga in the field of civil justice and private international law.

The notice covers core aspects, such as international jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement, specific European procedures (EPO, ESCP), judicial cooperation instruments (Service and Evidence Regulations), insolvency, ans other pertinent issues (public documents, legal aid, mediation).

The full text of the notice may be retrieved here.