Droit international général

New Edition of Cordero-Moss’ International Commercial Contracts

EAPIL blog - il y a 6 heures 11 min
The second edition International Commercial Contracts – Contract Terms, Applicable Law and Arbitration, authored by Giuditta Cordero-Moss (University of Oslo), is out. The book is published by Cambridge University Press. Any practising lawyer and student working with international commercial contracts faces standardised contracts and international arbitration as mechanisms for dispute settlement. Transnational rules may be […]

Job Vacancies in Vienna in Private International Law and International Banking Law

EAPIL blog - mer, 06/19/2024 - 08:00
Professor Matthias Lehmann, Chair of Private International and Comparative Law at the University of Vienna, seeks two highly skilled and ambitious research fellows from 1 October 2024 (“prae-docs”). Post-docs can also apply; in this case, the two positions would be merged into one. The first position is available in the area of private international law […]

Job Vacancies in Vienna for Researchers in Private International Law and in International Banking Law

Conflictoflaws - mar, 06/18/2024 - 14:46

Professor Matthias Lehmann, Chair of Private International and Comparative Law at the University of Vienna, seeks two highly skilled and ambitious research fellows from 1 October 2024 (“prae-docs”). Post-docs can also apply; in this case, the procedure would be restarted and the two positions would be merged into one.

The first position is available in the area of private international law and international dispute resolution (further details here). The second position is available in the area of international banking and financial law (further details here). The candidate should have some knowledge in the respective area. A post-doc should have knowledge in either area.

Applicants hold a master’s degree in law from any jurisdiction and possess an excellent command of English; a basic knowledge of German is welcome, but not necessary. Knowledge of other languages and advanced IT skills are desirable qualities that may be taken into consideration.

Successful candidates will be given the opportunity to complete a PhD or conduct post-doctoral research in accordance with the Faculty’s regulations. Other responsibilities include supporting Professor Lehmann in his work at the Chair and independent teaching, including coaching moot courts.

The positions involve 30 hours per week, of which 10 hours are set aside for the individual PhD project, and are remunerated according to the salary scale of the University of Vienna (c. 2.680 € gross per month, rising to 3.180 € after 3 years – paid out 14 times (!) per year). Contracts are for an initial term of one year during which there is a termination option for both sides, afterwards it is to be extended to a full four years.

Applications (including a cover letter in German or English, a CV, and relevant diploma) should be submitted via the University of Vienna’s Job Centre portal (https://jobs.univie.ac.at/) no later than 28 June 2024. Please include reference number 2449 for the specialisation in private international law and/or reference number 2499 for the specialisation in international business law. Questions about the positions and the application process can be addressed to Mrs Diana Dejakum at service.rechtsvergleichung@univie.ac.at.

Spanish Yearbook of International Law – Call for Papers

EAPIL blog - mar, 06/18/2024 - 08:00
The Spanish Yearbook of International Law (SYbIL), edited by the Asociación Española de Profesores de Derecho Internacional y Relaciones Internacionales (AEPDIRI), is calling for papers on topics of public and private international law for its forthcoming volume. Aware of the paramount importance of international practice, the Spanish Yearbook of International Law publishes contributions from active academics […]

Jurisdiction in Litigation Against Insolvent Parties. Oilchart and the Opinion of AG Medina

EAPIL blog - lun, 06/17/2024 - 08:00
The author of this post is Manuel Penades Fons, Reader in International Commercial Law at the Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College London, United Kingdom. Introduction In Oilchart the CJEU needs to decide whether a creditor can commence proceedings in an EU Member State against a party which is already subject to insolvency […]

A Rejoinder to Dr Cosmas Emeziem’s “Conflict of Laws and Diversity of Opinions—A View of The Nigerian Jurisdiction”

Conflictoflaws - lun, 06/17/2024 - 07:48

In this blog post, I respond to a recent critique by Dr. Cosmas Emeziem of a blog post co-authored by Dr. Abubakri Yekini and myself. Our post celebrated the elevation of Justice H.A.O. Abiru to the Nigerian Supreme Court and highlighted its significance for the development of Nigerian conflict of laws.

Dr. Emeziem argues that institutional expertise should be prioritised over individual expertise. He states, “[I]t is essential to stay focused on institutional capacities, expertise and competence and how to enhance them—instead of individualized expertise, which, though important, are weak foundations for enduring legal evolution and a reliable PIL regime.” He concludes that: “Thus, the idea that “an expert in conflict of laws is now at the Supreme Court after a long time”  is potentially misleading—especially for persons, businesses, and investors who may not know the inner workings of complex legal systems such as Nigeria.”

Yekini and I in our blog post , clearly stated: “Nevertheless, this is not to suggest that Justice Abiru’s expertise is limited to conflict of laws, nor that other Nigerian judges do not possess expertise in conflict of laws. The point being made is that his Lordship’s prominence as a judicial expert in conflict of laws in Nigeria is noteworthy.” [emphasis added]. The work of a judge is challenging, and academics should recognize and celebrate their expertise.

Celebrating judicial expertise is beneficial. For instance, Dr. Mayela Celis on 24 November 2021 in one blog post praised the appointment of Justice Loretta Ortiz Ahlf – a private international law expert – to the Mexican Supreme Court. Celis concluded in her blog post that: “This appointment will certainly further the knowledge of Private International Law and Human Rights at the Mexican Supreme Court.”

It is common for judges to specialize in certain legal fields, especially at the appellate level. This specialization enables them to provide leading judgments in relevant cases. This is particularly true in common law jurisdictions, where judges are known for their individual attributes and often provide separate decisions, which can result in a diverse range of opinions even within the same case. For example, in the English case of Boys v Chaplin, the House of Lords was unable to provide a coherent ratio decidendi due to differing opinions regarding the law applicable to torts when applying English law to heads of damages.

In Sonnar (Nig) Ltd v Partenreedri MS Norwind (1987) 4 NWLR 520 at 544 Oputa JSC of the Nigerian Supreme Court, although concurring, expressed a separate view that as a matter of public policy, Nigerian courts “should not be too eager to divest themselves of jurisdiction conferred on them by the Constitution and by other laws simply because parties in their private contracts chose a foreign forum.” Many other Nigerian judges have since followed this individual approach taken by Oputa JSC, despite the majority of the Nigerian Supreme Court in Sonnar unanimously, and repeatedly in Nika Fishing Company Ltd v Lavina Corporation (2008) 16 NWLR 509, and Conoil Plc v Vitol SA (2018) 9 NWLR 463, expressing preference for the enforcement of a foreign jurisdiction clause, except where strong cause is advanced to the contrary. In this context, the influence of an individual judge in decision-making in conflict of laws cannot be undermined.

In England, former United Kingdom Supreme Court Judges like Lord Collins and Lord Mance are renowned for their expertise in conflict of laws. Indeed, Lord Collins’ academic prowess in conflict of laws is internationally renowned, as he is one of the chief editors of the leading common law text on the subject. Nevertheless, this is not to suggest that judges who are not specialists in conflict of laws cannot make significant contributions to the subject. For instance, Lord Goff, known for his expertise in unjust enrichment, significantly contributed to the principle of forum non conveniens, delivering the leading judgment in the seminal case of Spiliada Maritime Corp v. Cansulex Ltd. The point being made is that judges’ specialization in a subject significantly enhances the quality of judicial decisions, a fact that scholars should celebrate.

The rise of international commercial courts in Asia and the Middle East, which resemble arbitral tribunals, underscores the importance of individual judicial expertise. These courts, including those in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Qatar, Kazakhstan, and Abu Dhabi attract top foreign judicial experts to preside over and decide cases, thereby instilling confidence in international commercial parties (Bookman 2021; Antonopoulou, 2023). For instance, Lord Collins a former non-permanent Member of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, delivered the leading judgment in the significant cross-border matter of Ryder Industries Ltd v Chan Shui Woo, with the agreement of all other judges on the panel.

Yekini and I stated in our blog post, that Justice Abiru’s “dissenting opinion in Niger Aluminium Manufacturing Co. Ltd v Union Bank (2015) LPELR-26010(CA) 32-36 highlights his commitment to addressing conflict of laws situations even when the majority view falls short.” If the bench in the conflict of laws case where Justice Abiru dissented had been conversant with private international principles in Nigeria, a different outcome might have been reached. This is crucial in the context of the numerous per incuriam decisions by Nigerian appellate courts, which hold that in inter-state matters, a State High Court can only assume jurisdiction over a cause of action that arose within its territory, regardless of whether the defendant is present and/or willing to submit to the court’s jurisdiction (Okoli and Oppong, Yekini, and Bamodu) . The key point is that having more specialists in conflict of laws in Nigerian courts will significantly enhance the quality of justice delivery in cross-border issues.

In conclusion, while Justice H.A.O. Abiru is not the entire Nigerian Supreme Court for conflict of laws, there is nothing wrong with emphasizing and celebrating his specialization in this field. Therefore, I stand by my co-authored blog post and will continue to highlight such expertise.

 

The Dubai Supreme Court — Again — on the Enforcement of Canadian (Ontario) Enforcement Judgment

Conflictoflaws - lun, 06/17/2024 - 05:56

I. Introduction

The decision presented in this post was rendered in the context of a case previously reported here. All of the comments I made there, particularly regarding the possibility of enforcing a foreign enforcement judgment and other related issues, remain particularly relevant. However, as I have learned more about the procedural history preceding the decisions of the Dubai Supreme Court (“DSC”), which was not available to me when I posted my previous comment, greater emphasis will be placed on the general factual background of the case. The decision presented here raises a number of fundamental questions related to the proper understanding of foreign legal concepts and procedures and how they should be integrated within the framework of domestic law. Therefore, it deserves special attention.

I would like to thank Ed Morgan (Toronto, ON Canada) who, at the time when my previous comment was posted, brought to my attention the text of the Ontario judgment whose enforcement was sought in Dubai in the present case.

 

II. Facts:

 1. Background (based on the outline provided by the DSC’s decisions)

 X (appellant) obtained a judgment in the United States against Y (appellee), which then sought to enforce it in Canada (Ontario) via a motion for summary judgment. After the Ontario court ordered enforcement of the American judgment, X sought enforcement of the Canadian judgment in Dubai by filing an application with the Execution Court of the Dubai Court of First Instance.

 

2. First Appeal: DSC, Appeal No. 1556 of 16 January 2024

The lower courts in Dubai admitted the enforceability of the Canadian judgment. Unsatisfied, Y appealed to the DSC. The DSC admitted the appeal and overturned the appealed decision, remanding the case for further review.

According to the DSC, the arguments raised by Y to resist the enforcement of the Canadian judgment – i.e. that the Court of Appeal erred in not addressing his argument that the foreign judgment was a “summary judgment [hukm musta’jil][i] declaring enforceable a rehabilitation order (hukm rad i’tibar)[ii] and an obligation to pay a sum of money rendered in the United States of America that cannot be enforced in the country [Dubai]” – was a sound argument that, if true, might change the outcome of the case.

 

3. Second Appeal: DSC, Appeal No. 392/2024 of 4 June 2024

The case was sent back before the court of remand, which, in light of the decision of the DSC, decided to overturn the order declaring enforceable the Ontario judgment. Subsequently, X appealed to the DSC.

Before the DSC, X challenged the remand court’s decision arguing that (i) the rules governing the enforcement of foreign judgments do not differentiate by types or nature of foreign judgments; (ii) that under Canadian law, “summary judgment” means a “substantive judgment on the merits”; and that (iii) Y actively participated in the proceedings and the lack of a full trial did not violate Y’s rights of defense.

 

III. The Ruling

The DSC admitted the appeal and confirmed the order declaring enforceable the Canadian judgment.

After stating the general principles governing the enforcement of foreign judgments in the UAE and recalling some general principles of legal interpretation (such as the prohibition of personal interpretation in the presence of an absolutely unambiguous text, and the principle that legal provisions expressed in broad terms should not be interpreted restrictively), the DSC ruled as follows (all quotations inside the text below are added by the author):

“[it appears from the wording of the applicable legal provision[iii] that] exequatur decrees are not limited to “judgments” (ahkam) rendered in foreign countries but extends to foreign “orders” (awamir) provided that they meet the requirements for their enforcement. Furthermore, the [applicable legal provision][iv] has been put in broad terms (‘aman wa mutlaqan), encompassing all “judgments” (ahkam) and “orders” (awamir) rendered in a foreign country without specifying their type (naw’) or nature (wasf) as long as the other requirements for their enforcement are satisfied. Moreover, there is no evidence that any other legal text pertaining to the same subject specifies limitations on the aforementioned [the applicable legal provision]. To the contrary, and unlike the situation [under the previously applicable rules],[v] the Legislator has expanded the concept of enforceable titles (al-sanadat al-tanfidhiyya),[vi] which now includes criminal judgments involving restitution (radd), compensations (ta’widhat), fines (gharamat) and other civil rights (huquq madaniyyah). […]

Given this, and considering that the appealed decision overturned the exequatur decree of the judgment in question on the ground that the [Canadian] judgment, which recognized a judgment from the United States, was a “summary judgment” (hukm musta’jil) enforceable only in the rendering State, despite the broad wording of [the applicable provisions],[vii] which covers all judgments (kul al-ahkam) rendered in a foreign State without specifying their type (naw’) or nature (wasf) provided that the other requirements are met. In the absence of any other specification by any other legal text pertaining to the same subject, the interpretation made by the appealed decision restricts the generality of [the applicable rules] and limits its scope [thereby] introducing a different rule not stipulated therein.

Moreover, the appealed decision did not clarify the basis for its conclusion that the [foreign] judgment was a “summary judgment” (hukm musta’jil) enforceable only in the rendering State. [This is more so], especially since the submitted documents on the Canadian civil procedure law and the Regulation No. 194 on [the Rules of Civil Procedure] show that Canadian law recognizes the system of “Summary judgment[viii] for issuing judgments through expedited procedures, and that the [foreign] judgment was indeed rendered following expedited procedures after Y’s participation by submitting rebuttal memoranda and hearing of the witnesses.[…]

Considering the foregoing, and upon reviewing the [Canadian] judgment… rendered in favor of the appellant as officially authenticated, it is established that the parties (X and Y) appeared before the [Canadian] court, [where] Y presented his arguments … and the witnesses were heard. Based on these proceedings [before the Canadian court], the court decided to issue the aforementioned “summary judgment” (al-hukm al-musta’jil) whose enforcement is sought in [this] country. [In addition, the appellant presented] an officially authenticated certificate attesting the legal authority (hujjiyat) [and the finality][ix] of the [Canadian] judgment. Therefore, the requirements stipulated [in the applicable provisions][x] for its enforcement have been satisfied. In addition, it has not been established that the courts [of the UAE] have exclusive jurisdiction over the dispute subject of the foreign judgment, nor that the [foreign] judgment is [rendered] in violation of the law of the State of origin or the public policy [in the UAE], or that it is inconsistent with a judgment issued by the UAE courts. Therefore, the [Canadian] judgment is valid as a an “enforceable title” (sanad tanfidhi) based on which execution can be pursued.

 

IV Comments

 The decision presented here has both positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, the DSC provides a welcome clarification regarding the meaning of “foreign judgment” for the purposes of recognition and enforcement. In this respect, the DSC aligns itself with the general principle that “foreign judgments” are entitled to enforcement regardless of their designation, as long as they qualify as a “substantive judgment on the merits”. This principle has numerous explicit endorsements in international conventions dealing with the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments[xi] and is widely recognized in national laws and practices.[xii]

However, the DSC’s understanding of the Canadian proceedings and the nature of the summary judgment granted by the Canadian court, as well as its attempt to align common law concepts with those of UAE law are rather questionable. In this respect, the DSC’s decision shows a degree of remarkable confusion in the using the appropriate legal terminology and understanding fundamental legal concepts. These include (i) the treatment of foreign summary enforcement judgments as ordinary “enforceable titles” (sanadat tanfidhiyya – titres exécutoires) under domestic law including domestic judgments rendered in criminal matters; (ii) the assimilation between summary judgment in common law jurisdictions and hukm musta’jil (“summary interlocutory proceedings order” jugement en référé”); and (iii) the confusion between summary judgment based on substantive legal issues and summary judgment to enforce foreign judgments.

For the sake of brevity, only the third point will be addressed here for its relevant importance. However, before doing so, some light should be shed on the proceedings before the Canadian court.

 

1. The proceedings before the Canadian Court and the nature of the Canadian Judgment

The unfamiliarity with DSC with the proceedings in Canada and underlying facts is rather surprising for two reasons: i) the proceedings were initiated by the American government in the context of a bilateral cooperation in criminal matters; and ii) the Canadian proceedings was a proceeding to enforce a foreign judgment rendered in criminal matters and was not simply a proceeding dealing with substantive legal issues. Therefore, a detailed review of the proceedings before the Ontario is necessary to better understand the peculiarities of the case commented here.

i) Proceedings in the context of mutual cooperation in criminal matters. The case originated in Ontario-Canada as a motion brought by the United States of America represented by the Department of Justice as plaintiff for summary judgment to recognize and enforce a “Restitution Order”[xiii] made against Y (defendant). The Restitution Order was part of Y’s sentence in the USA for securities fraud and money laundering. It “included terms as to payment and listed the victims and amounts to which they were entitled under the order” [para. 16].

The general procedural context of the Canadian judgment is of utmost relevance. Indeed, the USA sought the enforcement of the Restitution Order on the basis of the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act. The Act, as it describes itself, aims “to provide for the implementation of treaties for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters”. According to the Ontario Court, The Act is a “Canadian domestic legislation enacted to meet Canada’s treaty obligations for reciprocal enforcement in criminal matters” [para. 6]. These treaty obligations are based on the Canada-USA Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1990 [para. 6].

This is why, before the Canadian Court, one of the main questions [para. 25] was whether the “Restitution Order” could be regarded as “fine” within the meaning of the Act [para. 26]. If this is the case, then the Restitution Order could be enforced as a “pecuniary penalty determined by a court of criminal jurisdiction” in the meaning of article 9 of the Act.

On the basis of a “broad, purposive interpretation of “fine” … aligned with Canada’s” international obligation under the Treaty, the Ontario court considered that “proceeds of crimes, restitution to the victims of crime and the collection of fines imposed as a sentence in a criminal prosecution” can be regarded as “fine” for the purpose of the case [para. 30]. In addition, the court characterized the restitution order as “a pecuniary penalty determined by a court of criminal jurisdiction” [para. 35], and also described it as an “order made to repay the individual members of the public who were encouraged to purchase stock at an inflated price by virtue the criminal activity” [para. 39]. The court ultimately, concluded that “the Restitution Order made against [Y] is a “fine” within the meaning of… the Act” [para. 41].

From a conflicts of laws perspective, the question of whether the “Restitution Order” is of a penal nature is crucial. Indeed, it is generally accepted that penal judgments are not eligible to recognition and enforcement. However, nothing prevents derogating from this principle by concluding international conventions or enforcing the civil law component of foreign judgments rendered by criminal courts in criminal proceedings, which orders the payment of civil compensation.[xiv]

Interestingly, before the Canadian court, Y argued that the “Restitution Order” made against him was not a “fine” because it was a “compensatory-type” order [para. 27]. However, it is clear that it was an attempt to exclude the enforcement of Restitution Order from the scope of application of the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act. In any event, despite the crucial theoretical and practical importance of the issue, this is not the place to discuss whether the “Restitution Order” was penal or civil in nature. What matters here is the nature of the proceeding brought before the Canadian court which is a summary proceeding to recognize and enforce a foreign judgment. This leads us to the next point.

ii) Nature of the Canadian judgment. It is clear from the very beginning of the case that the USA did not bring an action on the merits but sought “an order for summary judgment recognizing and enforcing a judgment a Restitution Order made against [Y] as part of his sentence in [the USA] for securities fraud and money laundering” [para. 1]. Therefore, the case was about a motion for a summary judgment to enforce a foreign judgment. In this respect, one of the interesting aspects of the case is that Y also relied on the enforcement of foreign judgments framework and raised, inter alia, “a defence of public policy” at common law [para. 79] citing Beals v, Saldanha (2003), a leading Canadian Supreme Court judgment on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in civil and commercial matters.[xv] The court however dismissed the argument considering that there was “no genuine issue for trial on the question of a public policy defence against the enforcement in Canada of the Restitution Order” [para. 82].

Accordingly, if one puts aside the question of enforceability of foreign penal judgments, it is clear that the Canadian judgment was a judgment declaring enforceable a foreign judgment. The very conclusion of the Canadian court makes it even clearer when the court granted USA’s motion for summary judgment by ordering the enforcement in Canada of the Restitution Order [para. 84]. Accordingly, as discussed in my previous comment on this case, and taking into account the nature of the Canadian judgment, it can be safely said that the Canadian enforcement judgment cannot be eligible to recognition and enforcement elsewhere based on the adage “exequatur sur exequatur ne vaut”.

 

2. No… a summary judgment to enforce a foreign judgment is not a summary judgment based on substantive legal issues!

It is widely known that the procedural aspects of the enforcement of foreign judgments largely differ across the globe. However, it is fair to say that there are, at least, two main models (although other enforcement modalities do also exist). Generally speaking, civil law jurisdictions adopt the so-called “exequatur” proceeding the main purpose of which is to confer executory power to the foreign judgment and transforms it into a local “enforceable title”. On the other hand, in common law jurisdictions, and in the absence of applicable special regimes, the enforcement of foreign judgments is carried out by initiating a new and original action brought before local court on the foreign judgment.[xvi] The purpose of this action is to obtain an enforceable local judgment that, while recognizing and enforcing the foreign judgment, is rendered as if it were a judgment originally issued by the local court.[xvii] Both procedures result in similar outcome:[xviii] what has been decided by the foreign court will be granted effect in the form. However, technically, in civil law jurisdiction it is the foreign judgment itself that is permitted to be enforced in the forum,[xix] while in common law jurisdictions, it is the local judgement alone which is enforceable in the forum.[xx]

Such an enforcement in common law jurisdictions is usually carried out by way of summary judgment procedure.[xxi] However, this procedure should not be confused with the standard summary judgment procedure used to resolve disputes on the merits within an ongoing case. In fact, it is a distinct process aimed specifically at recognizing and enforcing foreign judgments,[xxii] which is the functionally equivalent counterpart in common law jurisdictions to the exequatur procedure.

This is precisely the confusion that the DSC encountered. The Court regarded the Canadian summary judgment as “a civil substantive judgment on the merits”, although it was not. Therefore, – and as already explained – the summary judgment rendered in result of this proceeding cannot be regarded as “foreign judgment” eligible for recognition and enforcement abroad in application of  the principle “exequatur sur exequatur ne vaut”.

 

 

——————————————————-

[i] In my previous post, I translated the term “hukm musta’jil” as “summary judgment to highlight the nature of the Canadian procedure. However, from the purpose of UAE law, I think it is better that this word be translated as “summary interlocutory judgment – jugement en référé”. This being said, for the purpose of this post the terms “summary judgment” will be used to highlight the terminological confusion committed by the DSC.

[ii] In my previous post, I was misled by the inappropriate terminology used in the DSC’s decision which referred to this American order as “Rehabilitation order” (hukm rad i’tibar). The term “rehabilitation order” is maintained here as this is the term used by the DSC.

[iii] The DSC made reference to article 85 of Cabinet Resolution No. 57/2018 on the Executive Regulations of Law No. 11/1992 on Civil Procedure Act (hereafter “2018 Executive Regulation”), which was subsequently replaced by article 222 of New Federal Act on Civil Procedure (Legislative Decree No. 42/2022 of 3 October 2022) (hereafter “New 2022 FACP”).

[iv] Ibid.

[v] The DSC referred the former Federal Act on Civil Procedure of 1992 (Federal Act No. 11/1992 of 24 February 1992)

[vi] The DSC referred to article 75(2) of the 2018 Executive Regulation as subsequently supplanted by article 212(2) of the New 2022 FACP.

[vii] Supra n (3).

[viii] In the original. Italic added.

[ix] In the words of the DSC, the foreign judgment “was not subject to appeal”.

[x] Supra n (3).

[xi] See Article 3(1)(b) of the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention; article 4(1) of the HCCH 2005 Choice of Court Convention; article 25(a) of the 1983 Riyadh Convention.

[xii] See eg. the Japanese Supreme Court Judgment of 28 April 1998 defining foreign judgment as “a final judgment rendered by a foreign court on private law relations… regardless of the name, procedure, or form of judgment” “[e]ven if the judgment is called a decision or order”.

[xiii] Supra n (2).

[xiv] On UAE law on this issue, see my previous post here and the authorities cited therein.

[xv] On this case see, Janet Walker, “Beals v. Saldanha: Striking the Comity Balance Anew” 5 Canadian International Lawyer (2002) 28; idem, “The Great Canadian Comity Experiment Continues” 120 LQR (2004) 365; Stephen G.A. Pitel, “Enforcement of Foreign Judgments: Where Morguard Stand After Beals” 40 Canadian Business Law Journal (2004) 189.

[xvi] Trevor C. Hartley, International Commercial Litigation (3rd ed. 2020) 435.

[xvii] Adrian Briggs, “Recognition of Foreign Judgments: A Matter of Obligation” 129 LQR (2013) 89.

[xviii] Briggs, ibid.

[xix] Peter Hay, Advance Introduction to Private International Law and Procedure (2018) 110.

[xx] Briggs, supra n (17).

[xxi] Adeline Chong, Asian Principles for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments (2021)13.

[xxii] Cf. Hartley, supra n (16) 435 pointing out that “Procedurally, therefore, a new action is brought; in substance, however, the foreign judgment in recognized and enforced” (italic in the original).

Air Berlin Online Symposium: the Scope of the Lex Concursus

EAPIL blog - ven, 06/14/2024 - 14:00
This is the third post of the online symposium on the recent judgment of the CJEU in Air Berlin (see also here). It is authored by Patrick Wautelet (University of Liege, Belgium), who contributed to the recent Elgar Commentary on the European Insolvency Regulation and Implementing Legislations. The first post was authored by Ilaria Queirolo […]

New Book on Cross-Border Child Relocation in the EU

EAPIL blog - ven, 06/14/2024 - 08:00
Olga Ceran (Leiden University) has kindly prepared this presentation of her recent book titled Cross-Border Child Relocation in the EU – The Dynamics of Europeanisation published by Intersentia in 2024 in its European Family Law series. This book is the first monograph to investigate cross-border child relocation as a unique legal issue in the EU context. The […]

Conflict of Laws and Diversity of Opinions—A View of The Nigerian Jurisdiction

Conflictoflaws - ven, 06/14/2024 - 06:56

 

 

Cosmas Emeziem, JSD Cornell University, Drinan Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Boston College Law School, Newton, MA. ©Author 2024.

Introduction

 

At the core of Conflict of Laws or Private International Law (hereinafter PIL) is reconciling rules across jurisdictions for dispute settlement and the broader concerns of justice and public policy. PIL rules are used as a toolbox to assist litigants in resolving these problems that arise from complex litigations. This has immense significance regarding the security of contracts, enforcement of obligations, and overall predictability of solutions on these issues. Recent debates and academic discourse about the Nigerian Judiciary, its decisions, and opinions on PIL have inspired even more contemplation on the institution’s place, expertise, and contribution to the evolution of PIL rules and practices in the region.[1] In this intervention, I situate these discussions in the larger structure of the judicature in Nigeria, the institution and system rather than individual opinions and expertise, and draw some lessons that should mediate academic, judicial, and legislative deliberations on this topic. I conclude that a scholarly engagement with the issues should be more robust than looking for limited answers that conform with precedents elsewhere—especially where these precedents do not help to address the contextual challenges. Equally, one should be mindful of the danger of incoherent transplants of norms and potential poor transplant effects. It is essential to stay focused on institutional capacities, expertise and competence and how to enhance them—instead of individualized expertise, which, though important, are weak foundations for enduring legal evolution and a reliable PIL regime.

I.The Supreme Court of Nigeria and the Judicature

 

The Nigerian Supreme Court is necessary for the legal system’s stability, coherence, and sustainable evolution.[2] On the other hand, the Court of Appeal and the High Courts (High Courts of States and the Federal Capital Territory, and the Federal High Courts) have a vertical relationship with the Supreme Court. Except where matters can commence directly at the Supreme Court, these lower courts serve as clearing houses for disputes on most commercial subjects within the country. This means that the Court of Appeal intervenes in many respects, and often, these matters do not go beyond the Court of Appeal. These courts also have several divisions across the country, and their jurisdictions and general adjudicatory competencies are recognized in the Constitution or as stipulated in their establishment laws. For instance, the Court of Appeal established by section 237 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) has 20 Judicial Divisions spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country.[3]

Therefore, with 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria has a complex judicature with subsystems designed to serve the needs of communities and regions, which are often peculiar to the regions. Indeed, there are many jurisdictions within Nigeria, although the country is also a jurisdiction. The complexity is also illustrated by the embeddedness of Sharia law, and customary law, in private law in different parts of the country. For example, a court may be called upon to interpret contracts and commercial transactions on religious and customary interests. These must be situated in the broader contexts of the legal systems and the specific dispute.[4] In that regard, although the Supreme Court is one institution, cases are heard and determined by different judges and judicial panels that are usually constituted to hear appeals and original disputes before the court.[5] Foreign investors who may not have a sense of the complex system may become excited by the  so-called “expertise in conflict of laws,” which has recently formed part of the debate about PIL in Nigeria and the African region.

The case-by-case (ad-hoc) constitution of judicial panels to hear and determine causes before the Supreme Court has significant ramifications for appreciating the different workings of the institution and how to render justice to parties, even in problematic PIL circumstances. The rotation, in terms of panel constitution, increases the individual and collective mastery of all matters that come before the court for adjudication—including commercial transactions, which have broad ramifications for PIL. It also eliminates the possibility of predicting which justices may sit on a matter before each panel is constituted. This can potentially insulate the court as an institution from compromise by targeting specific justices ahead of time. The fundamental nature of this approach—rotation of judges and constituting different panels for different cases—is even more perceptive when situated within the larger problem of corruption within the Nigerian judiciary.[6] The daily debate about corruption in the Nigerian judiciary makes it imperative that the public should not predict which judges would sit on a matter because of their “expertise” as this would serve the institution better and contribute to the ongoing efforts to curb corruption within the judiciary.[7] Individual efforts can then augment this institutional capacity and competence.

The above structure and approaches to judicial deliberations mean that there is a strong institutional capacity and competence regarding subjects upon which the Supreme Court is seized by law, practice, and tradition to adjudicate. This capacity pervades the entire judicature through such capillaries as precedents, rules of courts, practice directions, law reports, and memories accumulated over time that provide valuable guidance for judicial deliberations and determination of questions before the court, albeit PIL questions. Justices are also trained across different (sub)areas of law and often have significant statutorily required practice experience in various contexts within the jurisdiction before assuming judicial offices. In essence, the weight of the expertise lies more on the experience accumulated both as individuals and, more importantly, as custodians of the institutional capacity of the Supreme Court.

Sometimes, for example as in the case of the Court of Appeal, the different judicial divisions may reach different opinions on subjects ranging from marriage to child custody, service of processes, and enforcement of awards and judgments. This aligns with the general notion that courts of equal standing (coordinate jurisdiction) may depart from the opinion of their peers. Equally, state court systems have their respective rules of procedure, which have ramifications for the outcomes of dispute settlements in the states. The differences in the rules of courts further consolidate the necessity for a diverse knowledge base, a broad experience portfolio, and a flexible approach because of the complexity of the Nigerian legal system, the complicated court structure, and the breadth of judicial constitution. These factors also advance the argument that case-by-case issues that may need to be resolved by the courts are best dealt with not only by an independent knowledge base, but also drawing from the collective knowledge reservoir and diversity that the justices of the Supreme Court bring to the court to address issues as may be appropriate.[8]  Thus, the differences, approaches, plurality of views, conflicts of opinions, and diversity of questions are not unusual, considering the vastness of the jurisdiction and the interaction of different aspects of law and society.

The horizontal relationship between the courts of a particular subsystem, such as the Appeal Court divisions, does not mean there is chaos in the system or that they must depend on individual expertise to reconcile the PIL questions. Instead, it is an invitation to look to the institutional frameworks fashioned over time to manage disputes and achieve justice in cases. The wisdom of these institutional designs is more enduring because individual judges and their brilliance cannot sustain the long-term needs of any legal system. Thus, bright stars that stud the Nigerian Supreme Court’s history (such as Chukwudifu Oputa, Kayode Eso, Muhammed Bello, Ignatius Pats-Acholonu, Akinola Aguda, Udo Udoma, and many others), while invaluable for the growth and evolution of the system, must be seen as part of the overall institutional structure for sustainable dispute resolution—especially on PIL—in the Nigerian legal system.

Arguably, it is potentially counterproductive to focus solely on individual judicial PIL expertise in trying to resolve PIL questions in Nigeria. This is so because it would be considerably difficult to find evidence of a fundamental miscarriage of justice merely because a preponderance of individual expertise is lacking. Furthermore, the U.S.—a bit similar to Nigeria in terms of federalism—does not do that either. In J. McIntyre Machinery Ltd. v. Nicastro, although there is no evidence of individualized PIL expertise of the judges, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved the issue regarding the rules and standards for determining jurisdiction over an absent party in a fair, just and reasonable manner.[9] The court came to a reasonable and just answer despite arriving at the majority judgment from a plurality of views. It is, therefore, the collective quality of judicial deliberations and opinions that is the distinctive standard for measuring the capacity and competence of a court on matters of PIL. There are other examples of this display of institutional capacity and competence in the U.S. Supreme Court in cases such as The Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co.,[10] where Petitioner Unterweser agreed to tow respondent’s drilling rig from Louisiana to Italy, with a forum-selection clause stipulating that any disputes would be litigated in the High Court of Justice in London. When the rig was damaged, the respondent instructed Unterweser to tow the rig to Tampa. Subsequently, the respondent filed a lawsuit in admiralty against petitioners in Tampa. Unterweser invoked the forum clause and initiated a lawsuit in the English court, which asserted its jurisdiction under the contractual forum provision. It was held that forum selection in the contract was binding unless the respondent could discharge the heavy burden of showing that its enforcement is unreasonable, unfair, or unjust.[11]

In Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Co., LLC, Raiders, a Pennsylvania company insured a yacht for up to $550,000 with Great Lakes, a UK-based company.[12] In 2019, the yacht ran aground in Florida. Raiders submitted a claim to Great Lakes for the loss of the vessel, but Great Lakes rejected it, citing Raiders’ failure to recertify or inspect the yacht’s fire-extinguishing equipment on time. Great Lakes sought a declaratory judgment to void the policy. The district court dismissed Raiders’ counterclaims, applying New York law per the policy’s choice-of-law provision. Raiders argued that this provision was unenforceable under The Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co.[13] The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, holding that choice of law provisions are enforceable unless under some narrow exception that is not applicable in the circumstance. There is therefore great wisdom in attributing competence, expertise and capacity to the institution instead of individuals.

Thus, quality judicial deliberations and decisions reflect institutional competence. In the next section, I further the discussion on the issue of diversity, looking at subject matter diversity, diversity of views, and the place of stare decisis and precedents in light of the current debates about PIL and expertise in the Nigerian Supreme Court and its resonance for the legal system.

II. Judex, Expertise, and Diversity of Opinions

 

Quot homines tot sententiae—as there are peo, so are their opinions. A combination of factors including training, age, experience, temperament, and general background of judges affect their overarching nature and contributions to the making of legal institutions such as courts. These combinations of factors also influence the diversity of voices and views, opinions, individual competencies, and expertise. The ramification of these factors is even more vigorous and visible in PIL issues where there is a confluence of complex questions that could inspire diverse judicial decisions and plurality of opinions on controversies affecting commerce or other transnational/cross-border activities. Sometimes, this diversity can come as dissenting opinions. At other times, they may be reckoned with in the general obiter of superior courts such as the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Regarding subject matter diversity, courts are usually confronted with different types of cases. These cross-cutting cases often mean that PIL rules must guide the courts in reaching a fair and reasonable dispute settlement. Equally, the rules to be applied may be implicated by background agreements or indemnities in bilateral and multilateral treaties, such as investment agreements, conventions, and soft law policies relevant to the dispute. Besides the subject matter diversity, which necessarily implicates PIL and opinion of courts, there is also procedural diversity, which affects the decisions of a court. In such situations, methods of service of processes, certification, and recognition of awards and judgments create a sort of complicated interaction between legislation and rules of court regarding how best to resolve disputes between litigants and in line with established precedents. In Nigeria’s legal tradition, the rules of court support the rules of justice. Thus, the use of these tools can lead to different outcomes regarding diversity of procedure and diversity of opinion, and these have important implications for dispute settlement in PIL. For instance, a rule of court on limitation of time can influence the speed of hearing pretrial motions one way or another.

Yet, the dispute resolution system in Nigeria is not a rudderless ship. It has anchorage on doctrines such as stare decisis and precedents. The primacy of precedents established by the Supreme Court provides the guardrails for making sense of the respective diversities within the legal system as it concerns PIL. Stare decisis and precedents ensure that the law remains strong, stable, reliable, and predictable without standing still. Overall, the stability, security, and predictability that come from this means that the broader answers to PIL questions lie in institutional and systemic resilience and capacities rather than individual efforts, expertise, or resilience. In light of all these, the doctrine of stare decisis and precedents further reinforce institutional competence and expertise. Individualized expertise can quickly become a weak point in the judicial institutional amour—especially if given undue prominence. For instance, judicial empaneling cannot wait for individualized expertise and competence.[14]

Equally, courts do not generally operate like that. Rather, courts must function with available human resources. Justice does not recline on individual expertise but on the entire institutional outlook of the courts. When citizens seek justice, they look up to the courts and not individual judges who may come and go at different intervals in the history of the court. Thus, even where divisions such as commercial divisions are established, the wisdom of such divisions is functional—to facilitate access to justice and enhance institutional competencies and efficiency for all manner of persons that appear before the court including corporate and other associated interests. Expertise in empaneling a tribunal is often a luxury preserved for arbitration tribunals or other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. In those instances, parties can appoint their arbitrators or mediators based on their expertise. On the other hand, courts often have a set of judges already appointed by the appropriate authorities in the respective jurisdictions as at the time of commencement of actions.

Even then, expertise or expert views and opinions—whether in law or other spheres—are often subjects of evidence, and courts have procedural and institutional capacities to gain or leverage such expertise for fair and just settlement of disputes. When courts face certain difficulties, they can invite counsel to address the subject of controversy—usually through briefs. They can also invite amicus briefs or expert witnesses, such as professors of PIL, to testify on a matter in controversy with a view to answering critical questions for dispute resolution. These procedural safeguards reinforce the institutional competence and capacity and anticipate the limits of individual expertise. For example, amici curiae (friends of the court) have since become an established tradition available to courts to assist them in understanding and applying rules, principles, doctrines, and laws that may have PIL significance.

The individual expertise of judges will not provide answers to several PIL issues that arise in complex cross-jurisdictional disputes. Moreover, the expertise of individual judges from Nigeria is attested to in several jurisdictions as such judges have, at different times, dispensed justice in  Gambian, Ugandan, and Namibian courts.[15] Therefore, the current fad of trying to prop up individual judges as PIL experts  is mistaken—that expertise is better attributed to the institution, else scholars unwittingly set the judges up to fail and, in the process, diminish the established tradition of competence and expertise which the Nigerian judicature has managed to curate over time.

Conclusion

The judicature in Nigeria has often been a subject of intense scholarly deliberations. What has never been doubted is the expertise and competence of the courts in all matters within their assigned jurisdiction—both institutionally and in terms of the individuals who occupy the high judicial offices of the country. Individually, Nigerian judges serve with distinction and occupy high judicial offices even in countries such as the Gambia, Namibia, Botswana, Eswatini, and Uganda. These positions often require critical competence in the cross-border application of the law on matters relating to PIL. Therefore, there is no evidence to show that the expertise and capacities attributable to the judicature and its judex have been suspended at any time. Thus, the idea that “an expert in conflict of laws is now at the Supreme Court after a long time”[16] is potentially misleading—especially for persons, businesses, and investors who may not know the inner workings of complex legal systems such as Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

[1] Some of the interesting debates and discourse on the courts and PIL in Nigeria include, Folabi Kuti, SAN, Critiquing the Critique: X-raying Dr. Okoli’s restatement of the Court of Appeal’s decision in TOF Energy Co. Ltd & Ors. v. Worldpay LLC & Another (2022) LPELR -57462(CA) August 14, 2023, https://lawpavilion.com/blog/critiquing-the-critique-x-raying-dr-okolis-restatement-of-the-court-of-appeals-decision-in-tof-energy-co-ltd-ors-v-worldpay-llc-anor-2022-lpelr-574/>. Chukwuma Samuel Adesina Okoli, A Critique of the Nigerian Court of Appeal’s Recent Restatement of the Principles and Decisions on the Enforcement of Foreign Jurisdiction Clause in Nigeria, November 8, 2022< https://lawpavilion.com/blog/a-critique-of-the-nigerian-court-of-appeals-recent-restatement-of-the-principles-and-decisions-on-the-enforcement-of-foreign-jurisdiction-clause-in-nigeria/>  ; The Nigerian Court of Appeal declines to enforce a Commonwealth of Virginia (in USA) Choice of Court Agreement, March 10, 2021https://conflictoflaws.net/2021/the-nigerian-court-of-appeal-declines-to-enforce-a-commonwealth-of-virginia-in-usa-choice-of-court-agreement/. Anthony Kennedy, The Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgements at Common Law in Nigeria, December 15, 2020 (on why the common law action should be revived) https://www.afronomicslaw.org/2020/12/15/the-recognition-and-enforcement-of-foreign-judgments-at-common-law-in-nigeria ;Richard Mike Mlambe, Presence as a basis for International Jurisdiction of a Foreign Court Under Nigerian Private International Law, December 16, 2020 https://conflictoflaws.net/2020/presence-as-a-basis-for-international-jurisdiction-of-a-foreign-court-under-nigerian-private-international-law/.

[2] Section 230 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) establishes the Supreme Court as the apex judicial institution in the country.

[3] Divisions of the Court of Appeal in Nigeria < https://www.courtofappeal.gov.ng/divisions> (last visited May 29, 2024).  The Federal High Court of Nigeria has 35 Judicial Divisions < https://www.nextfhc.fhc.gov.ng/court/divisions>. (last visited May 29, 2024).

[4] Pontian Okoli, Former British Colonies: The Constructive Role of African Courts in the Development of Private International Law, 7 University of Bologna Law Review, 2, 126 (2022). https://bolognalawreview.unibo.it/article/view/15830

[5] Original disputes before the Supreme Court are often questions of controversy between the states as among themselves or between the states and the Federal Government of Nigeria. See Section 232 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

[6] Ameh Ejekwonyilo, Corruption in Nigerian Judiciary is extensive—UNODC, Premium Times March 1, 2024.

[7] Joseph Onyekwere, ICPC Corruption Verdict Unsettles Judiciary, The Guardian January 26, 2021; Punch: Editorial, Uprooting Corrosive Corruption in the Judiciary, August 24, 2023.

[8] Computation of time can be used to show some of the differences. For example, Order 48 rule (5) of the Rivers’ State High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2019 provides that time will not run when the courts are under lock and key. This unique provision arises from the difficult Chief Judge succession experience in that state in the 2015/2016 legal year. In comparison, Lagos State High Court and the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have no similar provision regarding when the court is under lock and key.  See Order 49 of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, 2018; Cf Order 48 of the Lagos State High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2019. But to show flexibility of approaches, in responding to such a situation of courts being under “lock and key” as seen in the case of Rivers State, the Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, adopted a different approach by issuing a practice direction regarding computation of time to cover the period of industrial action by judicial workers. [S]ee High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT Computation of Time and Exemption from payment of Default fees) Practice Direction No 1, 2021 (for the period April 6th, 2021 – June 14, 2021) < https://www.fcthighcourt.gov.ng/download/PRACTICE-AND-PROCEDURE/COMPUTATION-OF-TIME-AND-EXEMPTION-FROM-PAYMENT-OF-DEFAULT-FEES-PRACTICE-DIRECTION-NO.-1-2021-FOR-THE-PERIOD-APRIL-6TH-14TH-JUNE.pdf>. See also High Court of Delta State (Exemption of Payment of Default fees for filing of processes) Practice Direction (No 2) of 2021 for the Period of JUSUN Strike from April 6, 2021, to June 14, 2021. < https://thenigerialawyer.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Practice-Direction_JUSUN-strike_cover-001-converted-delta.pdf>.

[9] 564 U.S. 873 (2011). Adam N. Steinman, The Lay of the Land: Examining the Three Opinions in J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. V. Nicastro, 63 S. C. L. Rev. 481 (2011) https://scholarship.law.ua.edu/fac_articles/291/ ; Elisabeth A. Beal, J. McIntyre Machinery Ltd v. Nicastro: The Stream of Commerce Theory of Personal Jurisdiction in A Globalized Economy, 66 University of Miami Law Rev. 233 (2011). https://repository.law.miami.edu/umlr/vol66/iss1/9/

[10] 407 U.S. 1 (1972). Ronald A. Brand, M/S Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Company: US Common Law Affirmation of Party Autonomy, The Common Law Jurisprudence of Conflict of Laws (2023) https://scholarship.law.pitt.edu/fac_book-chapters/50/ ; Harold G. Maier, The Three Faces of Zapata: Maritime Law, Federal Common Law, Federal Courts Law, 6 Vand. J. of Transnational Law 387 (1972-1973). https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2618&context=vjtl ; K. M. Edwards, Unterweser: Choice Not Chance in Forum Clauses, 3 California Western International Law Journal 397 (1973).

[11] See also Carnival Cruise Lines Incorporated v. Shute, 499 US 585, 593-594 where the Court noted that the enforcement of forum selection clauses has the salutary effect of removing confusions and reducing the time and expense of pre-trial motions.

[12] Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Co., 601 U.S. (2024).

[13] Supra note 10.

[14] Sonnar (Nig.) Ltd. & Anor. V. Partenreedri M. S. Nordwind Owners of the Ship M.V. Nordwind & Anor. (1987) LLJR –SC. (courts can elicit expertise through evidence as in this case where the opinion of German lawyers as to the law in Germany was relevant in reaching a fair, just and reasonable decision. The courts also decide on what probative value to give the expert evidence considering the interest of justice).

[15] For instance, Hon. Justice Emmanuel Agim served in the Gambia and Swaziland (Eswatini) at the highest judicial levels in those countries < https://triplenet.com.ng/lawparliament/law_body.php?myId=2699&myView=259> .  Justice Akinola Aguda was also the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of Botswana. < https://www.news24.com/news24/renowned-african-jurist-dies-20010908>.

[16] See Chukwuma Okoli and Abubakri Yekini, The Nigerian Supreme Court now has a Specialist in Conflict of Laws, Conflict of Law.Net. January 7, 2024. https://conflictoflaws.net/2024/the-nigerian-supreme-court-now-has-a-specialist-in-conflict-of-laws/

Out Now: Heiderhoff/Queirolo (eds), EU (and) Private International Law. Societal Changes and Legal Challenges

Conflictoflaws - jeu, 06/13/2024 - 21:48

Every year, a group of 11 universities coordinated by Bettina Heiderhoff (University of Münster, Germany) brings together PhD candidates for a set of seminars through the Programme in European Private Law for Postgraduates (PEPP). The papers presented during the 22/23 session have now been published open access in a volume entitled ‘EU (and) Private International Law. Societal Changes and Legal Challenges’, edited by Bettina Heiderhoff and Ilaria Queirolo.

Reflecting the broad scope of the programme, the volume features an impressive collection of 14 essays on topics ranging from CSDDD & forum necessitatis (Clara Pastorino), the Hague Judgments Convention & third states (Guglielmo Bonacchi), and the relationship between PIL and Mediation (Christopher Reibetanz) to Neo-Cultural Imperialism in Cross-Border Trade Law (Stefano Dominelli).

The full book is available here.

 

UK Third Party Costs Orders Enforceable in Greece

EAPIL blog - jeu, 06/13/2024 - 08:00
INTRODUCTION A UK third-party costs order [henceforth: TPCO] is a totally unknown procedural concept in Greece.  In the course of exequatur proceedings, the Piraeus first instance court and the Piraeus court of appeal were called to examine the issue for the first time in Greece, both declaring that no obstacles, especially those intertwined with procedural […]

Out now: Book on cross-border insolvency proceedings by Remigijus Jokubauskas

Conflictoflaws - mer, 06/12/2024 - 21:03

A new book entitled Cross-Border Insolvency Proceedings Policies and Directives in the European Union written by assoc. prof. Remigijus Jokubauskas has just been published by Routledge.

The following blurb has been provided by the author:

Cross-border insolvency law is a branch of private international law which addresses the needs of national insolvency proceedings when they cross the national boundaries of a state. In the European Union (EU) law cross-border insolvency holds significant importance in ensuring the smooth operation of the internal market and exercise of the fundamental freedoms. Also, it provides the mechanism for fostering international investments and legal foreseeability in insolvency proceedings.

The book Cross-Border Insolvency Proceedings Policies and Directives in the European Union focuses on the effectiveness and development of cross-border insolvency proceedings in the EU insolvency law. Namely, it provides an analysis on the application of the Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings ((EU) 2015/848) and how it contributes to the general goals of the EU internal market and exercise of the freedoms of movement and establishment. Also, it analyzes how the Directive on Restructuring and Insolvency ((EU) 2019/1023) should be applicable in cross-border insolvency proceedings and whether the elements of preventive restructuring set out in this act can be effectively employed when restructuring proceedings cross the boundaries of the Member State.

This book covers the main elements of EU cross-border insolvency law, such as jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of judgments. Also, it focuses on other important topics in international insolvency cases, such as the exercise of creditors’ rights in cross-border insolvency proceedings, tracing and recovery of assets and discusses the possibilities of rescue of viable companies in cross-border insolvency cases. Moreover, it deals with the application of the rules of the discharge of debts for insolvent entrepreneurs in case of cross-border insolvency proceedings.

The study may be of interest to students and practitioners of insolvency law, EU law and private international law. It will also be useful for national legislators and EU institutions working on the development of EU insolvency law.

The link to the book can be found here.

 

Ehrenzweig Lecture in Vienna

EAPIL blog - mer, 06/12/2024 - 08:00
We have already announced the lecture in honour of Albert Armin Ehrenzweig that will take place in Vienna at the Austrian Ministry of Justice on 20 June 2024. The full programme is now available. The event will take place in hybrid mode and is free of charge. Registration is required for both personal and online […]

Australian International Law Journal – Call for Submissions

Conflictoflaws - mer, 06/12/2024 - 02:39

The Australian International Law Journal (AILJ), published by the International Law Association (Australian Branch), is calling for papers on topics of public or private international law for its forthcoming volume.

Papers should range from between 6,000 and 12,000 words. Case notes (2,000-3,000 words) and book reviews (1,000 words) within the areas of public or private international law are also welcome.

Papers on any topic of public or private international law should be submitted by email to the Editor in Chief at a.cassimatis@law.uq.edu.au. The deadline for submissions is 30 September 2024. Accepted submissions will be published in Volume 31 of the AILJ.

Air Berlin Online Symposium: Assets relocation and avoidance actions in the interest of local creditors

EAPIL blog - mar, 06/11/2024 - 08:01
This is the second post in the online symposium on the recent judgment of the CJEU in Air Berlin (see also here). It is authored by Antonio Leandro (University of Bari, Italy), who edited and contributed to the recent Elgar Commentary on the European Insolvency Regulation and Implementing Legislations. The first post was authored by […]

Air Berlin Online Symposium: The Protection of Local Creditors

EAPIL blog - lun, 06/10/2024 - 14:00
This is the first post in the online symposium on the recent judgment of the CJEU in Air Berlin (see also here). It is authored by Ilaria Queirolo and Stefano Dominelli (University of Genoa, Italy), who contributed to the recent Elgar Commentary on the European Insolvency Regulation and Implementing Legislations. In Air Berlín Luftverkehrs KG, […]

Revue Critique de droit international privé – issue 2023/4

Conflictoflaws - lun, 06/10/2024 - 11:08

Written by Hadrien Pauchard (assistant researcher at Sciences Po Law School)

The fourth issue of the Revue critique de droit International privé of 2023 (available here) was released online some time ago. It features two articles and several case notes. The non-French speaker will be pleased to find that, for the first time, the articles have been made available in English on the editor’s website (for registered users and institutions).

By opening new horizons beyond French private international law, the doctrinal part of the volume sheds light on the role played by conflict of laws in a legal anthropology.

The first article authored by Dr. El Hadji Samba Ndiaye (Université de Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar) is dedicated to La double nationalité des Africains subsahariens et les conflits de lois en matière de statut personnel (Dual nationality of sub-Saharan Africans and conflicts of law in matters of personal status). Its abstract reads as follows:

The principle of precedence of the nationality of the forum has an undeniable foundation in African private international law. Fortunately, however, it does not converge with the dynamics of migration of Africans towards the West and the contemporary diasporic realities. Dual nationality becoming more and more a reality in sub-Saharan Africa, it is urgent to review the treatment it receives in the field of conflicts of laws in matters of personal status when the African courts are the subject of direct referral to the proportion of dual Africans nationals who obtained a naturalization decree during their stay in the West. Taking advantage of the singularities shared between the conflict mobile and the positive conflict of nationalities, this analysis suggests applying to African dual nationals the law of their secondarily acquired nationality corrected, if possible, by the exception of dual nationality.

In the second article, Pr. Sabine Corneloup (Université Paris Panthéon-Assas) discusses L’appréhension des mariages d’enfants célébrés à l’étranger. Droit international privé et droits fondamentaux (Engaging with child marriages celebrated abroad. Private international law and fundamental rights). The abstract reads as follows:

While the fight against child marriages is a widely shared international objective, the choice of the best way to deal with such marriages, when they have been validly celebrated abroad, is a highly complex and controversial issue. On 1st February 2023, the German Federal Constitutional Court declared that article 13, paragraph 3, 1° of the EGBGB, relating to marriages of minors under the age of 16 celebrated abroad, was contrary to the freedom to marry guaranteed by the Basic Law of 1949. Adopted against a tense political backdrop, the provision stemmed from a 2017 law aimed specifically at combating child marriages. Its radical penalty – automatic nullity without any specific assessment of the situation of the spouses and without any substitute regime – attracted a great deal of criticism in Germany. The decision invites a more general reflection, beyond German constitutional law, on the questions of method and legal policy that the apprehension of these marriages gives rise to in private international law. The flexibility of the international public policy exception is problematic when the marriage has been contracted at a particularly early age. Public policy should then systematically oppose its validity in France. The benefit of putative marriage, as well as the possibility of celebrating the marriage again when majority has been reached, constitute sufficient guarantees to limit the effects of nullity in the legal order of the forum.

The issue also contains two case notes related to major transnational litigations on corporate responsibility. Written by Pr. Horatia Muir Watt (SciencesPo), they provide a critical comparative perspective on the contemporary developments and challenges of value chain disputes. The first note on Amici curiae : alerte à la vigilance ! (Amici curiae: vigilance alert!) scrutinizes the recent decision of the Tribunal judiciaire de Paris regarding the interim measures requested in the Total-Ouganda case under French law on corporate duty of care – “loi sur le devoir de vigilance” (TJ Paris, référé, 28 févr. 2023). The second note on Fuites de pétrole et fuite du temps: le point de départ de la prescription en cas de faits dommageables plurilocalisés à effets continus (Oil leaks and the passage of time: the starting point of the limitation period for plurilocal facts with continuous effects) then focuses on the judgement of the UK Supreme Court of May 10th, 2023 in the Jalla v Shell ([2023] UKSC 16) case.

The full table of contents is available here.

Previous issues of the Revue Critique (from 2010 to 2022) are available on Cairn.

Book Launch Online Symposium: Air Berlin

EAPIL blog - lun, 06/10/2024 - 07:58
On 18 April 2024, the CJEU delivered its judgment in Joint Cases C-765/22 and C-772/22, Air Berlin Luftverkehrs KG. The judgment, which was briefly presented on this blog, addresses several novel issues related to the application of the European Insolvency Regulation. In the coming days, the EAPIL Blog will host an online symposium on this case. […]

Academic Position Paper on the Reform of the Brussels Ibis Regulation available on SSRN

Conflictoflaws - sam, 06/08/2024 - 09:10

Burkhard Hess and his team at the University of Vienna recently finalised an Academic Position Paper on the Reform on the Brussels Ibis Regulation, which is now available on SSRN. They have kindly shared the following summary with us.

The Brussels Ibis Reform project leading up the Academic Position Paper commenced with the formation of a Working Group within the European Association for Private International Law (EAPIL) in 2021, spearheaded by Burkhard Hess and Geert Van Calster. This Working Group consisted of 42 academics from 22 EU Member States plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the UK. The Members of the Working Group provided information on the application of the Brussels Ibis Regulation in their respective jurisdictions by means of a questionnaire, after which a Members Consultative Committee of the EAPIL produced a report. Based on this input, the former MPI Luxembourg and the KU Leuven organised a conference in Luxembourg on 9 September 2022.

After the Luxembourg conference, Burkhard Hess and a team of researchers of the former MPI Luxembourg prepared a Working Paper with 32 reform proposals. The Members of the EAPIL Working Group and the academic public were invited to express their opinion on these proposals through online surveys. The results of these surveys were processed by Burkhard Hess and his team , which led to amendments to the original proposals. These amended proposals were presented discussed at a conference in Vienna on 12 April 2024. The findings of this conference were integrated into the Academic Position Paper that, after consulting the Members of the EAPIL Working Group, received a final update before being uploaded on SSRN

The five different parts of the Academic Position Paper cover the role and scope of the Brussels Ibis Regulation, collective redress, third-state relations, jurisdiction and pendency, as well as recognition and enforcement. Each part covers distinct issues identified at the 2022 Luxembourg conference and formulates specific proposals to resolve them. The background of each proposal is briefly explained and the charts indicating the responses to the surveys are presented, before discussing the feedback received through the surveys and during the 2024 Vienna Conference.

Burkhard Hess and his team would like to thank everyone that has taken the time to answer the surveys and/or attend the conferences. Your input was invaluable, and we have sought to take your views into account as much as possible. We believe that the proposals in the Academic Position Paper provide a solid set of recommendations to consider in recasting the Brussels Ibis Regulation, which will be presented to the European Commission as a meaningful contribution of academia in the upcoming law-making process.

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