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HCCH Monthly Update: January/February 2022

Meeting of the Council on General Affairs and Policy

The Council on General Affairs and Policy of the HCCH met online from 28 February to 4 March 2022, with over 450 participants. Over the course of five days, HCCH Members reviewed progress made to date and agreed on the work programme for the year ahead in terms of normative, non-normative and governance work. More information is available here.

Several important developments relating to Membership and HCCH Conventions occurred during the meeting:

  • El Salvador deposited its instrument of acceptance of the Statute, becoming the 91stMember of the HCCH.
  • Ecuador signed the 2007 Child Support Convention and 2007 Maintenance Obligations Protocol and deposited its instrument of ratification of both instruments, which will enter into force on 1 July 2022.

Revised Canadian Statute on Jurisdiction

Written by Stephen G.A. Pitel, Western University

Many Canadian and some other conflicts scholars will know that the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC) has drafted (in 1994) model legislation putting the taking of jurisdiction and staying of proceedings on a statutory footing. This statute, known as the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act (CJPTA), has subsequently been adopted and brought into force in 4 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Yukon).

The ULCC has now released a revised version of the CJPTA. It is available here and background information is available here.

Read more

HCCH Monthly Update: October 2021

Conventions & Instruments

On 5 October 2021, Indonesia deposited its instrument of accession to the HCCH 1961 Apostille Convention, in a ceremony held during the meeting of the Special Commission on the practical operation of the Apostille Convention. With the accession of Indonesia, the Apostille Convention now has 121 Contracting Parties. It will enter into force for Indonesia on 4 June 2022. With this accession, Indonesia becomes the 156th HCCH Connected Party. More information is available here.

Meetings & Events

On 4 October 2021, the HCCH hosted the 12th International Forum on the electronic Apostille programme (e-APP). Throughout the day, experts from around the globe shared their experiences with the development and implementation of the e-APP, its role in the context of e-Government initiatives, and the future of document authentication. More information is available here.

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: February 2021

Conventions & Instruments

On 1 February 2021, the HCCH 1965 Service Convention entered into force for the Marshall Islands. It currently has 78 Contracting Parties. More information is available here.

On 1 February 2021, the HCCH 2007 Child Support Convention entered into force for Serbia. At present, 41 States and the European Union are bound by the Convention. More information is available here.

On 1 February 2021, the HCCH 1993 Adoption Convention entered into force for Saint Kitts and Nevis. It currently has 103 Contracting Parties. More information is available here.

Meetings & Events

From 1 to 5 February 2021, the Experts’ Group on Jurisdiction met for the fifth time, via videoconference. The discussion focused on questions of policy, including in relation to rules of direct jurisdiction, parallel proceedings, related claims, and mechanisms for judicial coordination and cooperation. More information is available here.

HCCH Monthly Update: November 2020

Conventions & Instruments

On 2 November 2020, Jamaica deposited its instrument of accession to the HCCH 1961 Apostille Convention. It now has 119 Contracting Parties and will enter into force for Jamaica on 3 July 2021. More information is available here.

On 4 November, the Permanent Bureau was informed that on 26 October 2020, Saint Kitts & Nevis deposited its instrument of accession to the HCCH 1993 Adoption Convention. It now has 103 Contracting Parties and will enter into force for Saint Kitts & Nevis on 1 February 2021. More information is available here.

Meetings & Events

From 12 to 13 November 2020, the HCCH, together with the UNIDROIT and UNCITRAL, co-hosted the 2020 International Conference of the Judicial Policy Research Institute (Rep. of Korea) on International Commercial Litigation. A full recording of the event is available here.

Universal Civil Jurisdiction – Which Way Forward?

Serena Forlati and Pietro Franzina edited a book on the Universal Civil Jurisdiction, which was published by Brill a couple of days ago. The book features contributions prepared by colleagues  from four different European countries and eight universities.

The contributions included are the following:

  • ‘The Case of Naït-Liman before the European Court of Human Rights – A Forum Non Conveniens for Asserting the Right of Access to a Court in Relation to Civil Claims for Torture Committed Abroad?’ (Andrea Saccucci, University of Campania);

 

  • ‘The Role of the European Court of Human Rights in the Development of Rules on Universal Civil Jurisdiction – Naït-Liman v Switzerland in the Transition between the Chamber and the Grand Chamber’ (Serena Forlati, University of Ferrara);

 

  • ‘The Interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights – Lessons from the Naït-Liman Case’ (Malgosia Fitzmaurice, Queen Mary University);

 

Unwired Planet v Huawei [2020] UKSC 37: The UK Supreme Court Declared Competence to Determine Global FRAND Licensing Rate

 

  1. Background

The UK Supreme Court delivered the landmark judgment on Unwired Planet v Huawei and Conversant v Huawei and ZTE, [2020] UKSC 37 on 26 Aug 2020. In 2014, the US company Unwired Planet sued Huawei and other smartphone manufacturers for infringing its UK patents obtained from Ericsson. Some of these patents are essential to the 2G, 3G and 4G wireless telecommunication standards set by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), an international standards setting organization (SSO). Since Ericsson and Nokia are subject to various ETSI policies including patent policies, these policies continue to apply after they are acquired by Unwired Planet. The ETSI patent policy requires that holder of patents that are indispensable for the implementation of ETSI standards, referred to as standard essential patents (SEP) , must grant licence to implementers (such as the smartphone manufacturers) on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory ” (FRABD) terms. In 2017, Canadian company Conversant filed similar lawsuits against Huawei and ZTE.

Unwired Planet and Conversant proposed to grant the worldwide licence, but Huawei proposed a UK only licence. Huawei believes that the UK litigation only concerns the UK licence and the licence fees paid to resolve disputes under the UK procedure should cover only British patents and not global patents. The UK Supreme Court upheld the High Court and Court of Appeal judgments, ruling that the FRAND licence will need to be global between large multinational companies. If Huawei refuses to pay the FRAND global licence rate determined by the court, the court will issue an injunction restraining Huawei’s sale of infringing products in the UK.

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.

The NILR’s Volume comprises the following contributions (in order of print, open access contributions are indicated; the summaries are, with some minor modifications, those published by the NILR).

Jurisdiction to Garnish Funds in Foreign Bank Account

By Stephen G.A. Pitel, Faculty of Law, Western University

Instrubel, N.V., a Dutch corporation, has been attempting in litigation in Quebec to garnish assets of the Republic of Iraq.  The difficult issue has been the nature of the assets sought to be garnished and where they are, as a matter of law, located.  The assets are funds in a bank account in Switzerland payable to the Republic of Iraq (through the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority) by IATA, a Montreal-based trade association.