Developments in PIL Journals Scholarship

Revue de Droit International Privé: Issue 3 of 2021

A new issue of the online Belgian Revue de droit international prive / Tijdschrift voor internationaal privaatrecht is now available.

The issue features a rich selection of case law. It includes rulings given by the European Court of Human Rights (on family matters and surrogacy), the Court of Justice of the European Union (on succession, the taking of evidence, parental responsibility, employment contracts and torts matters).

Also included are rulings of the Belgian Constitutional Court and Court of Cassation, as well as the Court of Appeal of Antwerp and the Council for Immigration Disputes. The topics covered include matters of citizenship, rectification of birth certificate, service of judicial decisions, choice of jurisdiction clause in the context of the Lugano Convention, marriage, cross-border insolvency, and international protection of minors requesting humanitarian visa.

The section dedicated to doctrinal views contains a scholarly article by Annekatrien Lenaerts analysing a decision of the Belgian Court of Cassation issued on 18 June 2021 dealing with the communication of a court decision following the service of another judicial document on the basis of national procedural law and the European Service Regulation.

The decision has a particular importance according to the author as it is the first decision ruling that the addition of a copy of a judicial decision to the documents to be communicated to the party after service of one or more procedural documents does not amount to a valid service in accordance with the provisions of the Service Regulation, nor does it lead to the running of the appeal period according to Article 1051(1) of the Belgian Judicial Code.

The Court held that a judicial decision is only validly served at national level if it is expressly mentioned in the bailiff’s writ as the subject of the service. Further, it clarifies that a legally valid service at EU level requires that the decision to be mentioned as the document to be served, both in the application for service by the transmitting agency on the receiving agency using the standard form provided for that purpose and in the receiving agency’s notice of service, as well as in the form for the addressee stating that he has the right to refuse to receive this document.

The author concludes that although this solution may seem strict or formalistic at first glance, it is the only appropriate option in view of the protection of the addressee’s rights of defence. Only if a document is actually and expressly brought to the defendant’s attention in a way that allows the party to truly understand its content and purport, can the addressee effectively know his rights with regard to that document and institute a useful legal remedy against it.

Finally, the last part of the review is dedicated to legislative developments in the area of private international law.

The previous issues of the journal may be freely accessed here.

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