European Private International Law at 50. Celebrating and Contemplating EEX and its Successors

Jura Falconis Conference 23 March 2018, 10 AM – 5:30 PM (College De Valk, Leuven)

In 2018 we celebrate the 50th year since the adoption of the 1968 Brussels Convention on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. The 1968 attempt to facilitate the free movement of judgments in the EU, helped lay the foundations for the exciting developments in European private international law which have occurred since. Many of the outstanding issues in what is now the Brussels I Recast (also known as EEX-bis; or Brussels Ibis) continue to have an impact on other parts of European civil procedure.

Co-organised by Leuven Law’s Institute of Private International Law and Jura Falconis, KU Leuven’s student law review, this event will consider, capita selecta wise, the application and implications of the Convention and its successors. It will also discuss the future direction of EU private international law both for civil and commercial matters, and for issues outside of commercial litigation. At a time when in most Member States the majority of commercial transactions have some kind of international element, this is a timely refresher for practitioners, judges, students and scholars alike.
PROGRAM Continue reading “European Private International Law at 50. Celebrating and Contemplating EEX and its Successors”

Parent Companies Are Not Parents, Subsidiaries Are Not Children

Okpabi v Shell Judgment Puts the Brakes on the Expansion of Parent Company Liability for Damage Caused By Its Subsidiaries

A recent judgment of the England and Wales Court of Appeal addressed important jurisdictional questions in relation to a parent company’s liability for damages caused by its subsidiaries. The court did not rule on the merits of the claim; rather, it analysed the preliminary issue of whether UK courts have jurisdiction to hear such claims. In determining whether there is jurisdiction, however, the English court did have to examine substantive law issues. This makes the case of great interest to parent company liability, and, as parent company liability overlaps with supply chain liability, also to the latter. Continue reading “Parent Companies Are Not Parents, Subsidiaries Are Not Children”

Een rechtspersoon, het komt in de beste families voor

Cass. 10 februari 2017 (F.16.0027.N) over het gunsttarief in de Vlaamse erfbelasting

Kan wie vandaag geen natuurlijke persoon als valentijnsdate krijgt opgescharreld, even veel bevrediging vinden bij een rechtspersoon? Een arrest van het Hof van Cassatie  van 10 februari 2017 (F.16.0027.N) over de Vlaamse regels inzake erfbelasting geeft weinig hoop.

De Vlaamse erfbelasting voorziet een verlaagd tarief voor de verkrijging van aandelen uitgegeven door een familiale vennootschap.  Eén van de voorwaarden is dat de aandelen van de vennootschap op het ogenblik van het overlijden voor ten minste 50% in volle eigendom toebehoren aan de erflater en zijn familie. De wettekst definiëert ‘familie’ als familieleden in de gebruikelijke zin, zoals de partner, ouders, kinderen, broers en zussen.

Hoe zit het nu met de aandelen die worden gehouden door een andere vennootschap met rechtspersoonlijkheid die wordt gecontroleerd door zulke ‘fysieke’ familieden? Moeten deze aandelen die toebehoren aan déze familiale holdingvennootschap – die dus aandelen houdt in een andere vennootschap om wiens aandelen het gaat – ook beschouwd worden als toebehorende “aan de erflater en zijn familie”?

Continue reading “Een rechtspersoon, het komt in de beste families voor”

Swiss Referendum on Implementing Supply Chain Liability

a post by guest blogger Penelope Bergkamp

Following a clear trend, Switzerland is now also considering proposals to hold  Swiss companies liable for environmental damage and human rights violations in their supply chains. Possibly inspired by the French Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law, the Swiss Coalition for Corporate Justice (SCCJ) launched the Responsible Business Initiative (“RBI”) in 2015. The RBI involves a citizens’ petition to amend the Swiss Federal Constitution to impose “appropriate due diligence” obligations on Swiss companies in  accordance with  their responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles, along with liability for breaches by their subsidiaries. In response to the RBI, the Swiss Senate adopted a somewhat narrower, less ambitious proposal. Pursuant to Article 139 of the Federal Constitution, the Swiss people will be asked to vote on the RBI in a popular referendum

This post discusses the RBI and highlights the key differences between the RBI and the Senate proposal. First, the background to the RBI proposal is briefly reviewed. I will then turn to the procedural and substantive provisions of the RBI. Finally, the international private law aspects of the proposal will be analyzed. Continue reading “Swiss Referendum on Implementing Supply Chain Liability”

‘Minting Capital: The Role of the Corporation’ by Katharina Pistor (Columbia)

The youtube channel of the European Corporate Governance Institute has an interesting video of a discussion on “Minting Capital: The Role of the Corporation”. Professor Katharina Pistor of Columbia University discusses how corporate law can be used to generate wealth for the persons using this “legal code’ and how this can be seen as a legal subsidy.

This presentation develops the topics which Professor Pistor touched upon in her Heremans Lectures as Global Law Professor at the KU Leuven in 2016. She is working on an upcoming book on these topics

Uncitral Working Group V: Insolvency Law

At its fifty-first session (10-19 May 2017), Uncitral Working Group V has agreed to a draft model law on the recognition and enforcement of insolvency-related judgments (which can be consulted here) and to draft legislative provisions to facilitate the cross-border insolvency of multinational enterprise groups (which can be consulted here).

New German rules on Group Insolvency


Last week, the German Bundestag voted the Gesetz zur Erleichterung der Bewältigung von Konzerninsolvenzen. The purpose of this law is to bridge the gap between the economic unity of enterprise groups and their legal plurality, and as such to overcome the persistent entity-centrism of insolvency law. To do so, the law provides for the possibility of territorial concentration of insolvency proceedings, the possibility to appoint the same insolvency practitioner in multiple insolvency proceedings, and the possibility of a group coordination procedure. Similar rules can already be found in the recast Insolvency Regulation. This is not a coincidence as the main source of inspiration for the European rules … was the original German legislative proposal on group insolvency (which dates from 2013-2014). It can only be hoped that other legislators will soon follow the European and German example.

Een persmededeling van professor en parlementslid Heribert Hirte vat het belang van de wet als volgt samen:

Mit diesem Gesetz sind wir endlich im 21. Jahrhundert angekommen. Bisher wurde der Konzern im Insolvenzrecht eher stiefmütterlich behandelt, was auch dazu geführt hat, dass das Bild vom Unternehmen beim Bürger noch immer geprägt ist von der einzelnen Gesellschaft, meistens der GmbH oder der Aktiengesellschaft. Die wirtschaftliche Realität ist aber eine völlig andere. Unternehmensgruppen, teilweise bestehend aus mehreren Hundert einzelnen Gesellschaften, bestimmen das Geschehen. Das gilt nicht nur für die bekannten multinationalen Konzerne, sondern auch für viele Mittelständler und sogar Handwerker

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