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Have your say: the EU opens Public Consultation into the possible accession to the 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention

The EU has opened a Public Consultation into a possible accession to the 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention. The Consultation will run from 22 June 2020 – 05 October 2020 (midnight, Brussels time).

The Consultation is expansive and the target audience is described as follows: businesses and citizens involved or likely to get involved in international trade and investment; public authorities (including justice professionals); social partners organisations (trade unions and employers organisations), trade, business and professional associations, including consumer and business organisations, as well as professional organisations representing lawyers and members of research or academic institutions.

Importantly, the Consultation is not limited to EU Stakeholders. Rather, the EU expressly invites non-EU Stakeholders to participate and have their say.

A true game changer and the apex stone of international commercial litigation – the NILR Special Edition on the 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention is now available as final, paginated volume

On 2 July 2019, the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) adopted the 2019 Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters (2019 HCCH Judgments Convention). The instrument has already been described as a true game changer and the apex stone in international commercial litigation.

To celebrate the adoption of the 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention, the Netherlands International Law Review (NILR) produced a special edition entirely dedicated to the instrument.

Volume 67(1) of the NILR, which is now available in its final, paginated version, features contributions from authors closely involved in the development of the instruments. The articles provide deep insights into the making, and intended operation, of the instrument. They are a valuable resource for law makers, practitioners, members of the judiciary and academics alike.

Opinion of Advocate General Bobek in the case C-41/19, FX: Jurisdiction to rule on an application opposing enforcement of a maintenance decision

In today’s Opinion, Advocate General Bobek analyses whether the courts of a Member State in which a maintenance decision delivered by the courts of another Member State is enforced have jurisdiction to rule on an application opposing the enforcement.

More specifically, the reference for a preliminary ruling originates in a dispute between a maintenance debtor residing in Germany and a maintenance creditor residing in Poland. The latter lodged with the referring court an application requesting the recognition of a Polish maintenance decision and a declaration of its enforceability in Germany in accordance with Maintenance Regulation. The referring court delivered an order for enforcement in respect of the Polish maintenance decision. On the basis of that order, the defendant sought the enforcement of this decision against the debtor in Germany. The maintenance debtor opposed the enforcement based on Paragraph 767 of the German Code of Civil Procedure (the ZPO) and argued that the claim underlying the maintenance decision has been settled by payment.

What Does it Mean to Submit to a Foreign Forum?

The meaning of submission was the central question, though by no means the only one, in the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Barer v Knight Brothers LLC, 2019 SCC 13 (available here).  Knight sought enforcement of a Utah default judgment against Barer in Quebec.  The issue was governed by Quebec’s law on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, which is set out in various provisions of the Civil Code of Quebec (so much statutory interpretation analysis ensued).  Aspects of the decision may be of interest to those in other countries that have similar provisions in their own codes.

The Role of Foreign Enforcement Proceedings in Forum Non Conveniens

The doctrine of forum non conveniens, in looking to identify the most appropriate forum for the litigation, considers many factors.  Two of these are (i) a desire to avoid, if possible, a multiplicity of proceedings and (ii) any potential difficulties in enforcing the decision that results from the litigation.  However, it is important to keep these factors analytically separate.

In the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Haaretz.com v Goldhar (available here) Justice Abella noted that “enforcement concerns would favour a trial in Israel, in large part because Haaretz’s lack of assets in Ontario would mean that any order made against it would have to be enforced by Israeli courts, thereby raising concerns about a multiplicity of proceedings” (para 142).  Similarly, Justice Cote concluded (paras 82-83) that the fact that an Ontario order would have to be enforced in Israel was a factor that “slightly” favoured trial in Israel.

Ontario Court Enforces American Judgments Against Iran

Under the State Immunity Act, foreign states are generally immune from being sued in Canada.  This includes being sued on a foreign judgment.  However, in 2012 Canada enacted legislation to give victims of terrorism the ability to sue a foreign state that sponsored the terrorism.  It also made it easier for foreign judgments against such a state to be enforced in Canada.

In Tracy v The Iranian Ministry of Information and Security, 2016 ONSC 3759 (released June 9, 2016; likely to be posted in the week of June 13, 2016, in CanLII) the Ontario Superior Court of Justice had to consider these legislative reforms and how they applied to a series of American judgments rendered against Iran in favour of American victims of terrorist acts which Iran was found to have sponsored.  The court held that Iran was not immune from the enforcement proceedings and that accordingly the American judgments were enforceable against certain assets of Iran in Ontario.

No Independent Jurisdiction Requirement for Proceeding to Enforce a Foreign Judgment in Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada has released its decision in Chevron Corp v Yaiguaje (available here).  The issue before the court was whether the Ontario courts have jurisdiction to recognize and enforce an Ecuadorian judgment (for over $US 18 billion) where the foreign judgment debtor Chevron Corporation (“Chevron”) claims to have no connection with the province, whether through assets or otherwise.  On one view, because the process for enforcing a foreign judgment is to commence a new domestic proceeding and thereby sue on the foreign judgment, the enforcement proceeding must have its own independent analysis of jurisdiction.  Put another way, there cannot be a proceeding in respect of which the court does not have to have jurisdiction.  On a different view, because the analysis of the claim on the foreign judgment considers, among other things, the sufficiency of the rendering court’s jurisdiction (Chevron defended on the merits in Ecuador), that is the only required analysis of jurisdiction and there is no need for a separate consideration of the enforcing court’s jurisdiction.  The Supreme Court of Canada, agreeing with the Court of Appeal for Ontario, has held that the latter view is correct.

Milan Conference on the Reform of the Brussels I Regime (13 December 2013)

The University “Luigi Bocconi” of Milan will host on Friday 13 December (9h30 – 13h00) a conference on the recast of the Brussels I reg., organized in collaboration with the International Law Association: “The Reform of the ‘Brussels I’ Regime – The Recast Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012”. A substantial part of the colloquium will be held in English. Here’s the programme (available as a .pdf file):

Welcome Address: Giorgio Sacerdoti (Università Bocconi)

Opening Remarks: Alberto Malatesta (Secretary, ILA-Italy)

Chair: Fausto Pocar (Università degli Studi di Milano)

  • The Revised Brussels I Regulation – A general outlook: The Rt. Hon. Lord Jonathan Mance (Judge, Supreme Court of the UK and Chair, Executive Council, ILA);

Ontario Court Refuses to Hear Chevron/Ecuador Enforcement Action

As many of you know, in 2011 several residents of Ecuador won a judgment in the courts of that country against Chevron Corporation for some $18 billion.  In 2012 the successful plaintiffs sued Chevron Corporation and Chevron Canada Ltd. in Ontario, seeking to have the Ecuadorian judgment enforced there.  The defendants brought a motion challenging the Ontario court’s jurisdiction to hear the action.  The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has now released its decision, siding with the defendants.  The decision has not yet been posted on CanLII but is available here.  The plaintiffs’ lawyer has publicly indicated that his clients will appeal.

Key aspects of the decision have been summarized by Roger Alford on the Opinio Juris website (here).

 

Book: Pocar – Viarengo – Villata (Eds.), Recasting Brussels I

The Italian publishing house CEDAM has published a new volume on the review of the Brussels I regulation: “Recasting Brussels I“. The book, edited by Fausto Pocar, Ilaria Viarengo and Francesca Clara Villata (all from the Univ. of Milan) includes twenty-five papers divided into five parts, devoted to the scope of application (I), rules on jurisdiction (II), choice-of-court agreements (III), coordination of proceedings (IV) and recognition and enforcement of judgments (V).

Here’s the table of contents (.pdf file):

PART I – SCOPE OF APPLICATION

  • Rainer Hausmann, The Scope of Application of the Brussels I Regulation;
  • Ilaria Viarengo, The Removal of Maintenance Obligations from the Scope of Brussels I;
  • Claudio Consolo – Marcello Stella, Brussels I Regulation Amendment Proposals and Arbitration;