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EAPIL Young Research Network Conference in Dubrovnik – Report

On 14 and 15 May 2022 the EAPIL Young Research Network has successfully held a conference on Jurisdiction Over Non-EU Defendants – Should the Brussels Ia Regulation be Extended? in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The event, which was organized by Tobias Lutzi (University of Cologne), Ennio Piovesani (University of Torino), and Dora Zgrabljić Rotar (University of Zagreb), with the generous support of the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb, the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education, and the European Commission in Croatia, brought together around 30 scholars from all around Europe (and beyond) to discuss the findings from the Young Research Network’s third research project.

As such, the conference started with a presentation of the project’s Comparative Report, which the organizers had compiled on the basis of a total of 17 national reports on the domestic provisions on international jurisdiction in the EU Member States. It was followed by two panels, in which the national reporters discussed specific aspects of their respective national laws. The first panel, which was chaired by Tess Bens (Tilburg University), focused on the influence of the Brussels regime on the national laws of the Member States and included contributions from Stefano Dominelli (University of Genoa), Dafina Sarbinova (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”), and Benjamin Saumier (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne). The second panel, which was chaired by Vassiliki Marazopoulou (Hellenic Energy Exchange), on the other hand, focused on features of the national laws on international jurisdiction that are peculiar to only certain legal systems and contained contributions from Giedirius Ožiūnas (Mykolas Romeris University), Ioannis Revolidis (University of Malta), and Anna Wysocka-Bar (Jagiellonian University).

These first three panels, which were all focused on the comparative part of the project, provided the basis for a wider discussion of the desirability of extending the Brussels Ia Regulation to defendants not domiciled in the EU, potentially at the expense of the national rules on international jurisdiction. Professors Ronald Brand (University of Pittsburgh), Burkhard Hess (MPI Luxembourg), and Margherita Salvadori (University of Torino) all agreed that there was a lot to be said in favour of such an extension, albeit with different emphases. Johannes Ungerer (University of Oxford) and Marko Jovanović (University of Belgrade) were more cautious in their remarks, which focused on the prespectives of non-EU countries.

The conference concluded with a talk by Ning Zhao (HCCH), who presented the work of the Hague Conference on international jurisdiction and discussed its interplay with a possible extension of the Brussels Ia Regulation.

Over the two days of the conference, there appeared to emerge a strong consensus that although the comparative work of the research project provided an excellent basis for the necessary discussion of whether or not the Brussels Ia Regulation should be extended to non-EU defendants, more work needed to be done on the implications on recognition and enforcement of any reform of the Regulation. Thus, the Dubrovnik conference – the contributions to which will be published together with the comparative and national reports will be published later this year by Hart Publishing – marked not only the end of the current project of the Young Research Network but may have also already foreshadowed its next one.

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