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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.

HCCH Monthly Update: May 2021

Conventions & Instruments

On 24 May 2021, Niger deposited its instrument of accession to the HCCH 1993 Adoption Convention. With the accession of Niger, the Adoption Convention now has 104 Contracting Parties. It will enter into force for Niger on 1 September 2021. More information is available here.

Meetings & Events

On 4 May 2021, the HCCH participated in the virtual launch of the book Choice of Law in International Commercial Contracts, published by Oxford University Press. The recording of the event is available here.

HCCH Internship Applications Now Open

Applications are now open for three- to six-month legal internships at our Permanent Bureau in The Hague, for the period from July to December 2021.

Interns work with our legal teams in the areas of Family and Child Protection Law, Legal Cooperation, Dispute Resolution, Commercial and Financial Law. It’s a great way to gain practical experience, deepen your knowledge of private international law, and to understand how the HCCH functions.

Due to the current global situation and the associated travel limitations and restrictions, the Permanent Bureau of the HCCH may consider the possibility that internships be carried out remotely. Interns may also be eligible for a monthly stipend.

We encourage you to share this opportunity with law students and graduates within your networks.

Introduction to the Elgar Companion to the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) — Part II

This entry is the second of two parts that provide an introduction to the Elgar Companion to the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). It outlines the editors’ reflections on the 35 Chapters, drawing out some of the key themes that emerged from the Companion, including the HCCH’s contribution to access to justice and multilateralism. Together, Parts I and II offer readers an overview of the structure of the Companion (Part I, published on Conflict-of Laws on 8 December 2o2o) as well as of the core themes as they emerged from the 35 Chapters (Part II).

Both parts are based on, and draw from, the Editors’ Introduction to the Elgar Companion to the HCCH, which Elgar kindly permitted.

The Chinese villages win a lawsuit in China to repatriate a Mummified Buddha Statue hold by a Dutch Collector —What Role has Private International Law Played?

The Chinese villages win a lawsuit in China to repatriate a Mummified Buddha Statue hold by a Dutch Collector

—What Role has Private International Law Played?

By Zhengxin Huo, Professor of Law, China University of Polit’l Science and Law; Associate Member of International Academy of Comparative Law; Observer of the UNESCO 1970 Convention. Email: zhengxinh@cupl.edu.cn. The author would like to thank Dr. Meng YU for valuable comments.

  1. Introduction

On 4 December 2020, the Sanming Intermediate People’s Court of China’s southeastern Province of Fujian rendered a judgment ordering the Dutch defendants to return a stolen 1,000-year-old Buddhist mummy, known as the statue of Zhanggong-zushi, to its original owner: two village committees in the Province within 30 days after the verdict comes into effect. [1]

Introduction to the Elgar Companion to the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) — Part I

The following entry is the first of two parts that provide an introduction to the Elgar Companion to the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). Together, the parts will offer readers an overview of the structure of the Companion (Part I) as well as of the core themes as they emerged from the 35 Chapters (Part II). Both parts are based on, and draw from, the Editors’ Introduction to the Elgar Companion to the HCCH, which Elgar kindly permitted.

Introduction

The Elgar Companion to the HCCH will be launched on 15 December 2020 as part of a 1 h long virtual seminar. The Companion, edited by Thomas John, Dr Rishi Gulati and Dr Ben Koehler, is a unique, unprecedented and comprehensive insight into the HCCH, compiling in one source accessible and thought-provoking contributions on the Organisation’s work. Written by some of the world’s leading private international lawyers, all of whom have directly or indirectly worked closely with the HCCH, the result is a collection of innovative and reflective contributions, which will inform shaping the future of this important global institution.

The Companion is timely: for more than 125 years, the HCCH has been the premier international organisation mandated to help achieve global consensus on the private international law rules regulating cross-border personal and commercial relationships. The organisation helps to develop dedicated multilateral legal instruments pertaining to personal, family and commercial legal situations that cross national borders and has been, and continues to be, a shining example of the tangible benefits effective and successful multilateralism can yield for people and businesses globally.

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”.