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The Netherlands Soon to Establish English-Speaking Commercial Court

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A couple of months ago, the well-known weekly magazine The Economist” highlighted a global trend that sees jurisdictions from around the world competing to attract legal disputes before their courts. To this end, some countries (including, as previously discussed, Belgium) have (or will soon) set up special commercial courts that will conduct cases in English.

The Dutch Parliament is expected to shortly follow the same trend when it debates a new court reform bill (the Bill). The Bill aims at establishing an English-speaking court system which will have jurisdiction to hear international commercial disputes.

In anticipation of those debates in the Dutch Parliament, I wanted to provide a brief update and outline the main characteristics of this new court system:READ MORE

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CJEU Clarifies Consumer Jurisdictional Privilege in Personal and Assigned Claims for Breach of Data Rights

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On 25 January 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) rendered its decision in Maximilian Schrems v. Facebook Ireland Limited.

The CJEU followed the opinion of Advocate General Bobek (the Advocate General) – that we previously discussed – and clarified the extent of the consumer jurisdictional privilege.

As we already discussed, Maximilian Schrems is a well-known Austrian activist in the field of technology and electronic privacy. Previously, Mr. Schrems had successfully challenged the transfer of data from the EU to the U.S. through the Safe Harbour regime.

In the present case, Mr Schrems sued Facebook Ireland Limited (Facebook), the European subsidiary of Facebook Inc., for alleged violations of his privacy and data protection rights, as well as those of seven other Facebook users who had assigned their claims to him. These seven co-claimants were domiciled in the EU as well as in India.

Mr Schrems initiated proceedings in the Austrian courts, relying on the consumer jurisdictional privilege provided for in Article 16(1) of the now repealed Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Brussels I Regulation). This provision allows consumers (i.e., non-commercial parties) to sue the other party to a contract in the courts of the EU Member State in which the consumer is domiciled. Article 18(1) of the currently applicable Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Brussels Ibis Regulation) contains similar terms. Article 15(1) of the Brussels I Regulation (reproduced in Article 17(1) of the Brussels Ibis Regulation) limits this jurisdictional privilege to “matters relating to a contract concluded by a person, the consumer, for a purpose which can be regarded as being outside his trade or profession“.READ MORE

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U.K. Supreme Court Considers Jurisdictional Tests for Service of Claims Outside Jurisdiction

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On 19 December 2017, the U.K. Supreme Court (the Supreme Court) rendered a judgment providing interesting food for thought with respect to jurisdictional tests for service of claims outside the U.K.

The case was taken by the widow (Lady Brownlie) of Sir Ian Brownlie QC, a distinguished English scholar and practitioner of international law, who died (together with his daughter) in a car accident while on holiday in Cairo in January 2010. Lady Brownlie and two of their grandchildren were also injured in the accident.

Lady Brownlie brought a series of claims, before U.K. courts, under contract law and in tort (for her own injuries and for her husband’s death) against Four Seasons Holdings Inc. (FS Holdings), the Canadian-based owner of the Egyptian hotel to whom she had booked the excursion.READ MORE

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Brexit (2): Consequences on Cross-Border Civil Litigation

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As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have decided to devote a series of blog posts to the consequences of Brexit on cross-border-civil litigation and arbitration.

After a first post which discussed the issue of whether arbitration could be used to fix unresolved post-Brexit U.K.-EU matters, this post examines the consequences of Brexit on rules regarding jurisdiction, choice of law and recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.READ MORE

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CJEU Rules on Issues of Lis Pendens and Jurisdiction Under Lugano Convention

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Dear Readers – Happy New Year!

For a fresh start to the year, I wanted to highlight a recent judgment (dated 20 December 2017) of the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) which interprets the jurisdictional and lis pendens requirements contained in the Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Lugano Convention). As most of you know, the Lugano Convention aims at extending the Brussels I Regulation’s regime on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters within the EU to Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.READ MORE

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Data Protection & International Litigation: Upcoming Developments in U.S. and EU Laws

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As you would certainly have noted, data protection is on the rise and has become a daily source of concern for individuals as well as companies and businesses (suffice it to recall that, on 25 May 2018, the EU Global Data Protection Regulation (i.e. European Union’s major updated legislation on privacy and data protection) will enter into force. Meanwhile Uber and Equifax have just suffered major data breaches).

As demonstrated by the two cases below, international litigation is not immune from the flurry of excitement over privacy and data protection.

Maximilian Schrems v. Facebook Ireland Limited

The first case concerns a dispute pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) between Maximilian Schrems and Facebook Ireland Limited (Facebook or Facebook Ireland).

Maximilian Schrems is a well-known Austrian activist in the field of technology and electronic privacy. Previously, Mr. Schrems had successfully challenged the transfer of data from the EU to the U.S. through the Safe Harbour regime.

In the present case, Mr. Schrems (who maintained two presences on Facebook: (i) an “account“, which was for personal use, and (ii) a public “page” used for promoting his books, lectures, media appearances and fundraising activities) sued Facebook Ireland, the European subsidiary of Facebook Inc., for alleged violations of his data protection rights, as well as those of seven other Facebook users.READ MORE

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