In Greenaway v Parrish & Ors  EWHC 1506 (QB) ( I signaled it a while ago but the case has only recently appeared on BAILII), Spencer J had to consider the practical implications of the impossibility of referrals to the Court of Justice of the EU, by UK judges. Plenty of pending cases were introduced before Brexit day. Moreover, an even larger number of cases will be subject to retained EU law.
In a specific conflict of laws sense, this raises the particular (procedural and substantive) issue of foreign law being fact and hence needing to be proven. Retained and /or previously applicable EU law, will not be foreign law as such, yet clearly it is law of a different nature than UK statutory and common law across the isles.
The practical implications of all this have now surfaced in Greenaway. Following CJEU CILFIT, EU law is (usually) equally authentic in 22 languages. In the case at hand, this centres upon the meaning of the word ‘stolen’, in the motor insurance Directive 2009/103. How should a judge inform her /himself of the meaning of the word in the 22 languages, and potentially also of the implementation of the Directive across the Member States. 12 King’s Bench Walk have analysis of the case here. As they note, Mr Justice Spencer granted permission to each party to adduce four foreign law experts reports in EU jurisdictions of their choosing, so that the relevant foreign language versions of the Directive could be understood. He also gave permission for those experts to give evidence as to the implementation of the Directive in those member states, that material being part of the context in which the point at issue had to be decided.
This is an important procedural point which no doubt will surface in a variety of shapes in years to come.
My eye fell last week-end on The Times of London’s obituary of Sir Peter Singer, z”l , who passed away late in December.
The Times recall among others his linguistic skills and refer specifically to his judgment in  EWHC 49 (Fam) DL v EL, upheld by the Court of Appeal in  EWCA Civ 865. Regular readers will be aware of my interest in languages at the CJEU.
Sir Peter was applying the Brussels IIa Regulation 2001/2003 and had to decide inter alia where the child was habitually residing. In an endnote he discussed C-497/10 PPU Mercredi v Chaffe. At 76 he juxtaposes the English and French versions of the judgment (a technique I insist my students and pupils employ), observing the difference between ‘stabilité ‘ used in the French version and ‘permanence’ in the English, concluding that ‘stability’ would be the more accurate term. The Court of Appeal discusses the issue in 49.
Delightfully accurate and erudite.
This post can be classified under ‘better late than never’. Thank you Irina Timp for flagging in December, Inversiones v Cancun at the Dutch Hoge Raad. The case concerned alleged dilution of one company’s (Inversiones) shareholding in another as a result of increased emission of shares orchestrated by another shareholder (Cancun). Note that exclusive jurisdiction under Article 24(2), justifiably, was not suggested.
The Hoge Raad focused on the discussion concerning (now) Article 8(3)’s provision for counterclaims: courts even if not the court of domicile of the defendant have jurisdiction ‘on a counter-claim arising from the same contract or facts on which the original claim was based, in the court in which the original claim is pending;’ C-185/15 Kostanjevec is the main reference. Of particular note was the language issue: the Dutch version of the text employs ‘rechtsfeit’: suggestion a narrower interpretation than the English version (‘facts’) just quoted. The Hoge Raad justifiably followed the linguistic implications of the majority of language versions (e.g “facts”, “Sachverhalt”. “fait”) and held in favour of jurisdiction on the basis of a counterclaim.
The result of that finding is that it did not further entertain the consequences of Universal Music on the location of the locus damni for diluted shareholdings: what other factors are needed to have the shareholder’s corporate domicile qualify for same?
Linguistic interpretation features regularly of course in Treaty interpretation, including in Bilateral Investment Treaties – BITs. Kilic Insaat Ithalat Ihracat Sanayi ve Ticaret Anonim Sirketi v. Turkmenistan (ICSID Case No. ARB/10/1) concerned the Turkey-Kyrgyzstan BIT, which is authentic in English and Russian – neither a Turkish nor Turkmen version had been signed.
The tribunal’s analysis of the object and purpose of the Treaty, with a view to determining the procedural requirements prior to submitting to ICSID and given the inconsistencies between the two authentic versions, is a good reminder of similar issues in the EU, on which I reported extensively in previous work (since that paper, the relevance of the issue in the EU has only increased).