Prize time! 9th Grand Prix Jean Bastin 2019

It is with great pleasure that I spread the word, at the request of my esteemed colleague prof em Herman Cousy, on the Grand Prix Jean Bastin – to the tune of €20,000.00 and therefore a rather prestigious prize indeed. Do visit the website for particulars: ‘thesis’ need not be, I understand, a PhD, although these I suspect will be the most obvious entries. Good luck.



9th Grand Prix Jean Bastin 2019

The Fonds Scientifique Jean Bastin, a Belgian international non-profit association, will grant the Prize for an amount of 20.000 euros to the author of the best thesis published after 1 January 2016 or to be published, on one of the following matters:

The indebtedness and solvency of the States
The State in arbitration: international commercial arbitration and investment arbitration. Issue with the enforcement of arbitral awards against a State. Scope and limit of immunity from enforcement. Remedies. The issue of enforcement and post-arbitration mediation on the quantum of the conviction.
The State-debtor: issue of vulture funds, protective legislations. Debt market. Forum shopping. Enforcement of foreign arbitral decisions or awards.
The State in bankruptcy: problem of the public debt – IMF surveillance.
Granted for the first time in 1992, this Prize is one of the most prestigious in the legal and economical domain.
The thesis must be introduced, in conformity with the procedure set under the rules, by 30 November 2018 at the latest.
The Jury presided by Minister of State Mark Eyskens, is composed as follows :
Professor Kris Bernauw, university of Gent Professor emeritus Jean-Louis Duplat, university of Namur Professor emeritus Herman Cousy, university of Leuven Professor Frédéric Georges, university of Liège

For more details regarding the subjects and the participation rules: or contact





9de Grote Prijs Jean Bastin 2019

Het Fonds Scientifique Jean Bastin, een internationale vereniging zonder winstoogmerk naar Belgisch recht, zal de Prijs toekennen van een bedrag van 20.000 euro
aan de auteur van het beste werk, uitgegeven na 1 januari 2016 of nog uit te geven, dat één van de volgende thema’s behandelt : De schulden en de solvabiliteit van Staten
– De Staat in arbitrage: internationale handels- en investeringsarbitrage. Problematiek van de tenuitvoerlegging van veroordelingen ten laste van een Staat. Reikwijdte en beperking van de uitvoeringsimmuniteit. Remedies. Het vraagstuk over de tenuitvoerlegging en de post-arbitrale bemiddeling over het kwantum van de veroordeling.
– De Staat-schuldenaar: de problematiek van aasgierfondsen, beschermende wetgeving. Schuldenmarkt. Forum shopping. Uitvoering van buitenlandse arbitrale beslissingen of vonnissen.
– De failliete Staat: problematiek van de overheidsschulden. Plaatsing onder het toeizcht van het IMF.

Deze Prijs, voor het eerst uitgereikt in 1992, is één van de meest prestigieuze prijzen in het juridische en economische domein.
De werken moeten worden ingediend tegen uiterlijk 30 november 2018, in overeenstemming met de procedure vastgesteld in het reglement.
De heer Minister van Staat Mark Eyskens is voorzitter van de Jury, die als volgt is samengesteld :
Professor Kris Bernauw, universiteit Gent Professor emeritus Jean-Louis Duplat, universiteit Namen Professor emeritus Herman Cousy, universiteit Leuven Professor Frédéric Georges, universiteit Luik

Voor meer details over de thema’s of het reglement van de prijs: of contacteer




9ième Grand Prix Jean Bastin 2019

Le Fonds Scientifique Jean Bastin, association internationale sans but lucratif de droit belge, accordera le Prix d’un montant de 20.000 euros
à l’auteur du meilleur ouvrage, paru après le 1ier janvier 2016 ou à paraître, traitant de l’un des sujets suivants :

L’endettement et la solvabilité des États
L’Etat en arbitrage : arbitrage commercial international et arbitrage d’investissement. Problématique de l’exécution des condamnations à charge d’un Etat. Portée et limite de l’immunité d’exécution. Remèdes. La question de l’exécution et la médiation post-arbitrale sur le quantum de la condamnation.
L’Etat-débiteur : problématique des fonds vautours, des législations protectrices. Marché de la dette. Forum shopping. Exécution des décisions ou sentences arbitrales étrangères.
L’Etat en faillite : problématique de la dette publique. Mise des Etats sous tutelle de la FMI.

Attribué pour la première fois en 1992, ce Prix est l’un des plus prestigieux dans les domaines juridique et économique.
Les ouvrages devront être introduits selon la procédure fixée au règlement, pour le 30 novembre 2018 au plus tard.
Le Jury est placé sous la présidence de Monsieur le Ministre d’Etat Mark Eyskens et composé comme suit :

Professeur Kris Bernauw, université de Gand Professeur émérite Jean-Louis Duplat, université de Namur Professeur émérite Herman Cousy, université de Louvain Professeur Frédéric Georges, université de Liège

Pour plus de détails par rapport au règlement : ou contacter

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IM Skaugen v MAN. Relevance and location of indirect damage in case of misrepresentation, and forum non conveniens in Singapore.

I shall be posting perhaps tomorrow on yesterday’s CJEU judgment in Löber v Barclays (prospectus liability – see my review of Bobek AG’s Opinion here), but as a warming-up for comparative purposes, a note on [2018] SGHC 123 IM Skaugen v MAN. I have not been able to locate copy of the judgment (I am hoping one of my Singaporean followers might be able to send me one) so I am relying entirely on the excellent post by Adeline Chong – indeed in general I am happy largely to refer to Adeline’s post, she has complete analysis.

The case concerns fraudulent misrepresentation of the fuel consumption of an engine model sold and installed into ships owned by claimants (Volkswagen echo alert). Defendants are German and Norwegian incorporated companies: leave to serve out of jurisdiction needs to be granted. Interesting comparative issues are in particular jurisdiction when only indirect damage (specifically: increased fuel consumption and servicing costs with downstream owners who had purchased the ships from the first owners) occurs there; and the relevance of European lis alibi pendens rules for forum non conveniens purposes.

On the former, Singaporean CPR rules would seem to be prima facie clearer on damage not having to be direct for it to establish jurisdiction; a noted difference with EU law and one which also exercised the UK Supreme Court in Brownlie. Note the consideration of locus delicti and the use of lex fori for same (a good example in my view of the kind of difficulties that will arise if when the Hague Judgments project bears fruit).

On forum non conveniens, Spiliada was the main reference. Of interest here is firstly the consideration of transfer to the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC); and the case-specific consideration of availability of forum: the Norwegian courts had been seized but not the German ones; Germany had been identified by the Singaporean High Court as locus delict: not Norway; yet under the Lugano Convention lis alibi pendens rule, the German courts are now no longer available.



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Access to information: The Court of Justice acts to prevent water under the bridge in Client Earth.

Access to information ironically is subject to a myriad of rules and regulations at the EU level: some of a general nature (particularly: Regulation 1049/2001), some lex specialis (such as Directive 2003/35 and Regulation 1367/2006), but with a complex relationship between lex generalis and lex specialis. Add to the mix in the environmental field, public international law in the form of the Aarhus Convention and, well, what you get is an awful lot of regulatory intransparency. Leonie and I have made an attempt succinctly to summarise same in Chapter 5 of our Handbook on EU environmental law.

In C‑57/16 P Client Earth v EC, the CJEU’s Grand Chamber set aside a General Court judgment which had earlier sided largely with the EC viz two requests of information: the first of those requests sought access to the impact assessment report drawn up by the Commission on the implementation of the ‘access to justice’ pillar of the Aarhus Convention, while the second sought access to the impact assessment carried out by the Commission on the revision of the EU legal framework on environmental inspections and surveillance at national and EU level. Both were refused on the ground for exception provided in Regulation 1049/2001, that ‘access to a document, drawn up by an institution for internal use or received by an institution, which relates to a matter where the decision has not been taken by the institution, shall be refused if disclosure of the document would seriously undermine the institution’s decision-making process, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure.’

The Grand Chamber essentially held that access should be granted: core of its reasoning is at para 92: ‘Although the submission of a legislative proposal by the Commission is, at the impact assessment stage, uncertain, the disclosure of those documents is likely to increase the transparency and openness of the legislative process as a whole, in particular the preparatory steps of that process, and, thus, to enhance the democratic nature of the European Union by enabling its citizens to scrutinise that information and to attempt to influence that process. As is asserted, in essence, by Client Earth, such a disclosure, at a time when the Commission’s decision-making process is still ongoing, enables citizens to understand the options envisaged and the choices made by that institution and, thus, to be aware of the considerations underlying the legislative action of the European Union. In addition, that disclosure puts those citizens in a position effectively to make their views known regarding those choices before those choices have been definitively adopted, so far as both the Commission’s decision to submit a legislative proposal and the content of that proposal, on which the legislative action of the European Union depends, are concerned.

Essentially: a true transparent policy process requires citisens to be able to impact the flow of the water before it disappears under the bridge.

EC Institutions continue to fight rearguard actions against transparency, which subsequently have to be addressed by the likes of Client Earth. The CJEU could not be clearer in highlighting the patch access to EU policy should continue to follow.


(Handbook of) EU Environmental Law, first ed.2017, Chapter 5. (With Leonie Reins).

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Bot AG in Liberato: violation of lis alibi pendens rules does not justify refusal of enforcement on grounds of ordre public.

Advocate-General Bot opined on 6 September in C-386/17 Liberato. (Not as yet available in English). The case is slightly complicated by the application of not just former Regulation 44/2001 (Brussels I) but indeed a jurisdictional rule in it (5(2)) on maintenance obligations, which even in Brussels I had been scrapped following the introduction of the Brussels IIa Regulation.

The Opinion is perhaps slightly more lengthy than warranted. Given both the Brussels I and now the Brussels I Recast specific provisions on refusal of recognition and enforcement, it is no surprise that the AG should advise that a wong application by a court of a Member State (here: Romania) of the lis alibi pendens rules, does not justify refusal of recognition by other courts in the EU: the lis alibi pendens rules do not feature in the very limited list of possible reasons for refusal (which at the jurisdictional level lists only the protected categories, and the exclusive jurisdictional rules of Article 24), and it was already clear that misapplication of jurisdictional rules do not qualify for the ordre public exception.

It would not hurt having the CJEU confirm same.


(Handbook of) EU Private International Law, 2nd ed. 2016, Chapter 2, Heading,



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Vik v Deutsche Bank. Court of Appeal confirms High Court’s view on Article 24(5) – jurisdiction for enforcement.

I have reported earlier on Deutsche Bank AG v Sebastian Holdings Inc & Alexander Vik [2017] EWHC 459 and Dennis v TAG Group [2017] EWHC 919 (Ch).

The Court of Appeal has now confirmed in [2018] EWCA Civ 2011 Vik v Deutsche Bank that permission for service out of jurisdiction is not required for committal proceedings since the (now) Article 24(5) rule applies regardless of domicile of the parties. See my posting on Dar Al Arkan and the one on Dennis .

Gross LJ in Section IV, which in subsidiary fashion discusses the Brussels issue, confirms applicability to non-EU domicileds however without referring to recital 14, which confirms verbatim that indeed non-EU domicile of the defendants is not relevant for the application of Article 24.


(Handbook of) EU Private International Law, 2nd ed. 2016, Chapter 2, Heading

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Puigdemont v Spain before the Belgian (civil) courts. Some thoughts.

In this post I, unusually, offer questions rather than tentative answers. I hope you’ll enjoy the pondering and of course I have ideas of my own on all of these issues. Thank you Michiel Poesen for alerting me to Carles Puigdemont et al’s case in the Belgian civil courts.

The case is not about trying to employ the Belgian courts to have a Spanish Supreme Court judge removed from the case. (Contrary to what De Standaard report in their title – in an otherwise informative piece). Pablo Llarena had commented on the case (specifically: rejecting an argument raised by the defence) at an academic  conference. Rather, as I understand the case (public detail is scant), applicants suggest the alleged violation of impartiality infringes their right to such impartiality which in Belgium at least, is a civil right, constitutionally guaranteed.

The case therefore is one in tort. The exact request to the court is as yet unknown: provisional measures? damages? One assumes the very finding by a Belgian court of a finding of partiality and hence infringement of fundamental rights, will be employed in any future trials in Spain.

So far a little context. Here are the questions:

  • What kind of law is engaged here?: is this private international law? Is it public international law? (see prof Hess’ contribution to the Recueil, on the private /public divide).
  • Are the proceedings ‘international’ enough to trigger the application of private international law; are they simply ‘Spanish’ and what impact does that have on the jurisdiction  of the Belgian courts;
  • Are such proceedings ‘civil and commercial’ within the meaning of the Brussels regime; specifically, what is the impact of a Supreme Court judge spending much of their time engaging in what has to be considered a ‘public’ function, now speaking at an academic conference. (Think Kuhn, Fahnenbrock etc.).
  • If the Brussels I regime is triggered, what type of provisional measures is possible?
  • If the Brussels I regime is triggered, how does Article 7(2) apply; where is the locus delicti commissi and where the locus damni; how does e-Date apply if at all;
  • Along similar lines: how does applicable law apply given that defamation is exempt from Rome II; (see Belgium’s regime in Articles 99-100 WIPR in particular); and
  • What is the impact, if any, of chances of enforcement of the judgment in Spain.

These are the issues I suspect will be of some relevance in the conflicts field. Happy pondering.



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