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Article

Finding an Ideal Contract Law Regime for the International Sale of Goods

A Comparative Study on the Remedy of Termination for Breach of Contract under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for International Sale of Goods (CISG), the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (PICC) and The Gambia Sale of Goods Act

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords contracts, termination of contracts, CISG, International Sale of Goods, Unidroit Principles, the Gambia, comparative law
Authors Buba Ceesay
AbstractAuthor's information

    Parties enter into contracts for obtaining specific contractual benefits, and, as a result, they engage in risk allocation hoping that each will keep to its promise. These expectations are sometimes shattered by a breach by one of the parties. The contract at times provides remedies for breach of contract. However, in most cases, the parties’ contract leaves the regulation of the breach to the governing law of the contract. The efficiency of a remedial rule can be judged from the balance that it has put in place in ensuring the risks involved in international transactions are not skewed against the breaching party just because it is in breach. This article thus makes a comparative study between the United Nations Convention on Contracts for International Sale of Goods (CISG), UNIDROIT (International Institute for the Unification of Private Law) Principles of International Commercial Contracts (the PICC) and Sales Act (Act No. 4 of 1955) of The Gambia (GSGA) on the right of a creditor to terminate a contract to elucidate the similarities and the differences among the three regimes and to determine which of the regimes provides a suitable contract law model for the international sales of goods. The article reviews and analyses the legal instruments, case law and academic writings under the regimes and concludes that the CISG provides the most suitable contract law model for the international sale of goods.


Buba Ceesay
Buba Ceesay is an LLM candidate at the Université de Fribourg. Special appreciation to Professor Christiana Fountoulakis, Dr iur, Professor of Private Law and European Private Law, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, for guiding this research paper and helping in having the final version ready for publication.
Article

Access_open Hardship and Force Majeure as Grounds for Adaptation and Renegotiation of Investment Contracts

What Is the Extent of the Powers of Arbitral Tribunals?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2021
Keywords contract adaptation, hardship, force majeure, investment contracts, arbitration
Authors Agata Zwolankiewicz
AbstractAuthor's information

    The change of circumstances impacting the performance of the contracts has been a widely commented issue. However, there seems to be a gap in legal jurisprudence with regard to resorting to such a remedy in the investment contracts setting, especially from the procedural perspective. It has not been finally settled whether arbitral tribunals are empowered to adapt investment contracts should circumstances change and, if they were, what the grounds for such a remedy would be. In this article, the author presents the current debates regarding this issue, potential grounds for application of such a measure and several proposals which would facilitate resolution of this procedural uncertainty.


Agata Zwolankiewicz
Agata Zwolankiewicz is an advocate trainee, graduated from the University of Silesia in Katowice (M.A. in law), and the University of Ottawa (LL.M. with concentration in international trade and foreign investment).

Sidney Moreland
Arbitrator Sidney Moreland holds two undergraduate degrees from Louisiana Tech University and a Juris Doctor Law degree from the Southern Law School, where he was an honours graduate and a member of Law Review. Moreland received the American Jurisprudence Award for his study in the field of Evidence. He has arbitrated over 1,000 cases in his 28-year arbitration career, including commercial disputes, employment matters, labour-management disputes, interest arbitration issues, financial and securities claims, railroad and airline cases, federal agency conflicts and noteworthy civil matters referred to arbitration or mediation by the state and federal courts. Permanent panels and other parties (not comprehensive): National Football League/NFL Players Association; Pepsico; Dallas Area Regional Transit/A.T.U.; Southwest Airlines/TCU; CSX Transportation/B.L.E.T.; Broward County, Florida/AFL-CIO; Customs & Border Protection/NTEU; Social Security Administration/AFGE; Orion Corporation/U.S.W.; Union Pacific/S.M.A.R.T.-TD.
Article

Investment Arbitration and the Public Interest

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords BIT, ILA, ISDS, unclean hands, regulatory chill
Authors Gábor Hajdu
AbstractAuthor's information

    The study focuses on analyzing conflicts between (international) investment arbitration and the public interest, dividing its contents into five substantive sections. First, it summarizes the common characteristics of international investment arbitration (distinguishing procedural and substantive elements), followed by its most pressing issues (including frequent criticism such as lack of consistency, asymmetrical proceedings, regulatory chill, etc.). Afterwards, selected investment arbitration cases are examined, grouped based on which areas of public interest they affected (environmental protection, employee rights, public health). These cases all hold relevance and offer different insights into the workings of investment arbitration, which serve to illuminate the complex interplay between foreign investor and public interest. The cases also provide the foundation for the study’s conclusions, where key observations are made on the central subjects.


Gábor Hajdu
Gábor Hajdu: PhD student, University of Szeged.
Article

The Impact of the Achmea Ruling on Intra-EU BIT Investment Arbitration

A Hungarian Perspective

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Achmea, Intra-EU BIT, investment arbitration, investment protection, Hungary
Authors Veronika Korom
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Achmea judgment of the CJEU brought the worlds of EU law and investment arbitration on a collision course. The judgment sent shockwaves through the EU investment arbitration community, which feared that Achmea would be the death knell of intra-EU BIT arbitration. In the years since Achmea, however, arbitral tribunals, ad hoc committees and national courts have found ways around Achmea, effectively eliminating its practical impact on intra-EU investment disputes. On 5 May 2020, the majority of EU Member States adopted a multilateral agreement that seeks to terminate intra-EU BITs and provides for a transitional regime for pending arbitrations in order to give effect to Achmea. This agreement, once ratified, will mark the end of intra-EU BIT arbitration in the future, although its impact on pending proceedings remains unclear. With its 22 intra-EU BITs and several arbitration proceedings pending under these treaties, Hungary has relied heavily (albeit unsuccessfully thus far) on Achmea in recent years as part of its defense strategy. The final termination of intra-EU BITs will be a win for Hungary in the short term, as no new investment arbitrations can be pursued by EU investors against Hungary. In the long term, however, the termination of intra-EU BITs will leave Hungarian companies who invest in the EU without sound legal protection and may even adversely impact Hungary’s standing as an attractive place for EU investment.


Veronika Korom
Veronika Korom: assistant professor of law, ESSEC Business School.
Article

The CETA Opinion of the CJEU

Redefining the Contours of the Autonomy of the EU Legal Order

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords CETA, settlement of investment disputes, autonomy of EU law, Achmea, multilateral investment court
Authors Tamás Szabados
AbstractAuthor's information

    In its Opinion 1/17, the CJEU confirmed that the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA or the Agreement) entered into between Canada and the EU is compatible with EU law. In the view of the CJEU, the CETA does not have an adverse effect on the autonomy of the EU legal order; it does not violate the principle of equality, the effectiveness of EU law and the right of access to an independent tribunal. Some of the findings of the Opinion are, however, controversial. In particular, it is questionable whether the autonomy of EU law is indeed unaffected by the Agreement, because it seems that in certain situations an interpretation of EU law is hardly avoidable for the CETA Tribunal and the Appellate Tribunal to make. With its Opinion, the CJEU not only lends support to similar trade and investment protection agreements, but it also paves the way for the participation of the EU in creating a multilateral investment court as long as the limits set by the CJEU are observed.


Tamás Szabados
Tamás Szabados: associate professor of law, ELTE Law School, Budapest.
Article

The Role of the Seat in Smart Contract Disputes

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2020
Keywords smart contracts, international commercial arbitration, blockchain technology, online arbitration
Authors Diana Itzel Santana Galindo
AbstractAuthor's information

    Over the past few decades, international commercial arbitration has experienced major developments in various fields. A major recent development that will spread widely in the years to come relates to technology and the necessity of international commercial arbitration to adapt to the new needs of the market. The path of technological development in commerce is determined by forces other than the needs of legal practitioners. Moreover, the lack of real connection to a sole place, in disputes where the multi-parties have not selected the seat, can create serious obstacles for the arbitral proceedings in blockchain technology disputes. In this regard, smart contracts, however, appear to have identifiable parties with an identified physical point of connection that ultimately can be adapted to the existing place of the arbitration theory within the international arbitration legal framework.


Diana Itzel Santana Galindo
LL.M. graduate in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution at Queen Mary University of London. Legal internship experiences at the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB International), Beijing Arbitration Commission (BAC/BIAC), and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC).
Article

Smart Legal Contracts

A Shift in Conflict Prevention and Dispute Resolution

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2019
Keywords smart contracts, blockchain, contracts, conflict prevention, ODR
Authors Aura Esther Vilalta Nicuesa
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article is aimed at clarifying the legal implications of blockchain when applied to contracts and the impact of smart contracts in conflict prevention and dispute resolution.


Aura Esther Vilalta Nicuesa
Chair in Civil Law at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.
Article

APEC Online Dispute Resolution Framework

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2019
Keywords APEC, ODR, e-Commerce, small business, dispute resolution
Authors Michael J. Dennis
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Internet and communications technology are changing every aspect of our lives. Now ODR is set to revolutionize commercial dispute resolution across APEC with the adoption of a new ODR Collaborative Framework. In this article, we will look at the challenges APEC small businesses face today and how the APEC ODR Collaborative Framework provides a much-needed solution to improve justice and boost trade.


Michael J. Dennis
Private International Law Consulting, ODR Advisor to the APEC Economic Committee.
Article

Beyond the Singapore Convention

The Importance of Creating a ‘Code of Disclosure’ to Make International Commercial Mediation Mainstream

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2019
Keywords Singapore Convention, mediation, expectations, enforcement, commerce, international
Authors Ana Maria Maia Goncalves, François Bogacz and Daniel Rainey
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 6 August 2019, the Singapore Convention on Mediation was announced. The Convention parallels the New York Convention for arbitration by moving to legitimize mediation as a dispute resolution method for international commercial transactions. The Convention tries, in particular, to address the enforceability of mediation settlements by referring to the application of mediation ‘standards’ in Article 5 (e). Mediation standards have been a controversial topic in professional circles since the rise of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution process, because of the extreme diversity of mediation approaches across the world. We argue that all stakeholders in the mediation ecosystem should focus on creating a ‘Code of Disclosure’ as a complement to the Singapore Convention, that such a ‘Code of Disclosure’ may be the first step towards a future ‘Uniform Code of Conduct’, and that a code of disclosure will bring certainty to parties about the international commercial mediation process, which is a key prerequisite for its true adoption.


Ana Maria Maia Goncalves
Ana Maria Maia Goncalves is Founder and President, ICFML (Instituto de Certificação de Mediadores Lusófonos).

François Bogacz
Francois Bogacz, Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, Computer Vision and Multimedia Laboratory, University of Geneva, Battelle Campus and Melbourne Business School.

Daniel Rainey
Daniel Rainey, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, The International Council for Online Dispute Resolution and InternetBar.Org.
Article

ODR as a Public Service

The Access to Justice-Driven Canadian Experience

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2019
Keywords ODR, access to justice, courts, legal process, sense of fairness
Authors Nicolas Vermeys and Jean-François Roberge
AbstractAuthor's information

    Canadian courts and tribunals are successfully incorporating online dispute resolution (ODR) mechanisms into their processes in order to offer user-centric dispute resolution systems aimed at increasing access to justice. Although they use different approaches, three such examples, British Columbia’s Civil Resolution Tribunal, Ontario’s Condominium Authority Tribunal, and Quebec’s PARLe-OPC platform, have all demonstrated how public ODR can increase litigants’ sense of justice while respecting basic legal tenets. This article serves as a short introduction to this user-centric Canadian approach.


Nicolas Vermeys
Nicolas Vermeys is the Associate Dean of Programs at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of law, the Associate director of the Cyberjustice Laboratory, and a Researcher at the Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP).

Jean-François Roberge
Jean-François Roberge is a Professor and the Director of the Dispute Prevention and Resolution programmes at the Université de Sherbrooke Faculty of law.

Tamás Szabados
Senior lecturer, ELTE Law School, Budapest.
Article

Sustainable Developments in Foreign Investment Law and Policy

Related to Renewable Energy and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords sustainable development, climate change mitigation, Paris Agreement, renewable energy law, ICSID
Authors Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger
AbstractAuthor's information

    Sustainable development is gradually integrated into policies worldwide, meanwhile, government authorities and policymakers, alongside public and private enterprises, are signaling the growing scope and scale of investment opportunities in this field. Capital cuts and decreasing generating costs are fueling the market in renewable technologies. At the same time, bilateral and multilateral treaties are being negotiated, which set the framework for expanding sustainable solutions: treaty regimes increasingly encourage and promote trade and investment for more sustainable energy development, responding to global concerns on climate change. Investment protection litigation offers new insights into trends in jurisprudence, demonstrating how this field of law can be instrumental not only for protecting undertakings’ interests, but holding countries to their commitments under international treaties for the protection of the environment.


Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger
Senior director, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL); professor of law, University of Waterloo, Canada.
Article

Access_open The New Dutch Model Investment Agreement

On the Road to Sustainability or Keeping up Appearances?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords Dutch model BIT, foreign direct investment, bilateral investment treaties, investor-to-state dispute settlement, sustainable development goals
Authors Alessandra Arcuri and Bart-Jaap Verbeek
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2019, the Dutch government presented a New Model Investment Agreement that seeks to contribute to the sustainability and inclusivity of future Dutch trade and investment policy. This article offers a critical analysis of the most relevant parts of the revised model text in order to appraise to what extent it could promote sustainability and inclusivity. It starts by providing an overview of the Dutch BIT (Bilateral Investment Treaty) programme, where the role of the Netherlands as a favourite conduit country for global FDI is highlighted. In the article, we identify the reasons why the Netherlands became a preferred jurisdiction for foreign investors and the negative implications for governments and their policy space to advance sustainable development. The 2019 model text is expressly set out to achieve a fairer system and to protect ‘sustainable investment in the interest of development’. While displaying a welcome engagement with key values of sustainable development, this article identifies a number of weaknesses of the 2019 model text. Some of the most criticised substantive and procedural provisions are being reproduced in the model text, including the reiteration of investors’ legitimate expectation as an enforceable right, the inclusion of an umbrella clause, and the unaltered broad coverage of investments. Most notably, the model text continues to marginalise the interests of investment-affected communities and stakeholders, while bestowing exclusive rights and privileges on foreign investors. The article concludes by hinting at possible reforms to better align existing and future Dutch investment treaties with the sustainable development goals.


Alessandra Arcuri
Alessandra Arcuri is Professor at Erasmus School of Law and Erasmus Initiative Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Bart-Jaap Verbeek
Bart-Jaap Verbeek is Researcher at Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen (SOMO) and PhD Candidate Political Science at the Radboud University.
Article

Access_open The Brussels International Business Court: Initial Overview and Analysis

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international jurisdiction, English, court language, Belgium, business court
Authors Erik Peetermans and Philippe Lambrecht
AbstractAuthor's information

    In establishing the Brussels International Business Court (BIBC), Belgium is following an international trend to attract international business disputes to English-speaking state courts. The BIBC will be an autonomous business court with the competence to settle, in English, disputes between companies throughout Belgium. This article focuses on the BIBC’s constitutionality, composition, competence, proceedings and funding, providing a brief analysis and critical assessment of each of these points. At the time of writing, the Belgian Federal Parliament has not yet definitively passed the Bill establishing the BIBC, meaning that amendments are still possible.


Erik Peetermans
Erik Peetermans is a legal adviser at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB).

Philippe Lambrecht
Philippe Lambrecht is the Director-Secretary General at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB).
Article

Access_open The Singapore International Commercial Court: The Future of Litigation?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international commercial court, Singapore, dispute resolution, litigation
Authors Man Yip
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Singapore International Commercial Court (‘SICC’) was launched on 5 January 2015, at the Opening of Legal Year held at the Singapore Supreme Court. What prompted the creation of SICC? How is the SICC model of litigation different from litigation in the Singapore High Court? What is the SICC’s track record and what does it tell us about its future? This article seeks to answer these questions at greater depth than existing literature. Importantly, it examines these questions from the angle of reimagining access of justice for litigants embroiled in international commercial disputes. It argues that the SICC’s enduring contribution to improving access to justice is that it helps to change our frame of reference for international commercial litigation. Hybridisation, internationalisation, and party autonomy, the underpinning values of the SICC, are likely to be the values of the future of dispute resolution. International commercial dispute resolution frameworks – typically litigation frameworks – that unduly emphasise national boundaries and formalities need not and should not be the norm. Crucially, the SICC co-opts a refreshing public-private perspective to the resolution of international commercial disputes. It illuminates on the public interest element of the resolution of such disputes which have for some time fallen into the domain of international commercial arbitration; at the same time, it introduces greater scope for self-determination in international commercial litigation.


Man Yip
BCL (Oxon).
Article

Access_open Joinder of Non-Consenting Parties: The Singapore International Commercial Court Approach Meets Transnational Recognition and Enforcement

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international commercial courts, international business courts, third parties, third party joinder, recognition and enforcement
Authors Drossos Stamboulakis and Blake Crook
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article we explore the approach of the Singapore International Commercial Court (the ‘SICC’) to jurisdiction and joinder of non-consenting parties, and way that any resulting judgments are likely to be treated by foreign enforcing courts. This novel juncture arises as international commercial courts, such as the SICC, rely predominantly upon party autonomy to enliven their jurisdiction over disputants. This does not require any territorial link of the parties or the dispute to the host jurisdiction (Singapore). At the same time, however, the SICC is granted a mandate under Singaporean law to join non-consenting parties, again with no necessary territorial link. Where such joinder occurs, any resulting judgment is likely to face significant difficulties if recognition and enforcement is sought outside of Singapore. To support this argument, we first set out the ways in which non-consenting disputants may be joined to proceedings before the SICC, and offer some initial thoughts on how these powers are likely to be exercised. Second, we argue that any such exercise of jurisdiction – that lacks either territorial or consent-based jurisdiction grounds – is unlikely to gain support internationally, by reference to transnational recognition and enforcement approaches, and the SICC’s most likely recognition and enforcement destinations. Finally, we offer some concluding remarks about the utility of international commercial court proceedings against non-consenting parties, including the possibility they may impact on domestic recognition and enforcement approaches in foreign States.


Drossos Stamboulakis
B.Com, LLB (Hons) (Monash); LLM (EMLE); Law Lecturer, USC School of Law (University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia)

Blake Crook
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law (University of Melbourne, Australia), B.Com (Acc), LLB (Hons) (Sunshine Coast).
Editorial

Access_open International Business Courts in Europe and Beyond: A Global Competition for Justice?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international business courts, justice innovation, justice competition, global commercial litigation, private international law
Authors Xandra Kramer and John Sorabji
Author's information

Xandra Kramer
Xandra Kramer, Professor of Private Law at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and of Private International Law, Utrecht University.

John Sorabji
John Sorabji, Senior Teaching Fellow, UCL, London/Principal Legal Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls.
Article

Access_open The Court of the Astana International Financial Center in the Wake of Its Predecessors

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international financial centers, offshore courts, international business courts, Kazakhstan
Authors Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Court of the Astana International Financial Center is a new dispute resolution initiative meant to attract investors in much the same way as it has been done in the case of the courts and arbitration mechanisms of similar financial centers in the Persian Gulf. This paper examines such initiatives from a comparative perspective, focusing on their Private International Law aspects such as jurisdiction, applicable law and recognition and enforcement of judgments and arbitration awards. The paper concludes that their success, especially in the case of the younger courts, will depend on the ability to build harmonious relationships with the domestic courts of each host country.


Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar
LLM (LSE), PhD (Navarra), KIMEP University.
Article

Access_open International Commercial Courts in France: Innovation without Revolution?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2019
Keywords international commercial court, dispute resolution, business court, Brexit, judicial system
Authors Alexandre Biard
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2018, in the wake of Brexit, the French legal profession took several important measures to strengthen the competitiveness of France and the French legal system, and to make Paris an attractive go-to-point for businesses when the latter have to deal with international commercial litigation. When taking a closer look at it, Brexit is only the top of the iceberg, and has mostly served as a catalyst. Reasons explaining the development of international commercial courts in France are manifold. They are consequences of long-standing efforts aimed at boosting the French judicial marketplace to adapt it to the requirements of globalization and to the expectations of multinational corporations. The setting-up of the French international business courts has made several procedural adjustments necessary. Although the latter undoubtedly represent clear innovations, they however do not constitute a full-blown revolution. France has indeed decided to maximize already-existing procedural rules, combined with a new organisational format inspired by the Common Law tradition. If it remains too early to draw clear conclusions on the impact of these new developments, it is essential to keep our ears to the ground, and to be forward-looking. We should carefully consider the possible side-effects on the French justice system considered as a whole, and in particular wonder whether these international commercial courts might in the future open the door to broader far-reaching evolutions within the judicial system. Finally, the multiplication of international business courts across Europe nowadays triggers some questions concerning the role and potential added value of an EU initiative in this domain.


Alexandre Biard
Postdoctoral researcher, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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