This post was written by Sören Segger-Piening, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg.
It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce the passing of Oliver Remien on 24 April 2023 after a short, severe illness at the age of only 66. He held the Chair of Civil Law, European Economic Law, Private International Law and Litigation as well as Comparative Law at the University of Würzburg from 2001 until his retirement on 1 April 2023. From 1982 to 2000 he had worked as an assistant and research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg under the supervision of his teacher Ulrich Drobnig. I consider myself lucky to have been Oliver Remien’s student, mentee and friend since 2007.
His work is as multi-layered as it is extensive, which is why the following can only be an incomplete coverage of some of his research priorities.
Early on he pointed out the various dimensions of European private law and benefited from his work as Secretary to the Commission on European Contract Law (Lando-Group) from 1982 to 1990. He repeatedly surveyed, illuminated and advanced the system of internal market law and its implications for private law: fundamentally in his habilitation thesis on Mandatory Law of Contract and the Fundamental Freedoms (2003), most recently in a note on the Thelen Technopark decision of the CJEU.
He made many fundamental contributions to private international law, for example on foreign trade law, overriding mandatory provisions, consumer contracts and the European Succession Regulation. Furthermore, he devoted himself to the “secret king” of conflict of laws: the application of foreign law by domestic courts.
The latter links to his work in the field of international and comparative civil procedure. His ground-breaking and widely acclaimed dissertation on Rechtsverwirklichung durch Zwangsgeld (1992) bears witness to this, as does his recent contribution in the grey area between arbitration and the international jurisdiction regime of the Brussels Ia Regulation.
Of course, he also provided a variety of important impulses in German law, for example with his contribution on the limitation of claims in rem.
During his time at the University of Würzburg, Oliver Remien organised a large number of conferences on important topics in his research areas such as: Modernisation of the Law of Obligations and European Contract Law (2006); The Law of Prescription in Europe (2009); Damages in European Private and Business Law (2010); European Unification of Conflict of Laws (2010, together with Eva-Maria Kieninger); Investment Protection, Arbitration and the Rule of Law in the EU (2017, together with Markus Ludwigs). He was also keen to cooperate with the Law Faculty in Bucharest, as evidenced by a volume on Common European Private Law in Romania (together with Liviu Zidaru), which currently is being printed.
Standing in awe before this comprehensive body of work – which I can only describe inadequately – is accompanied by at least as much admiration for Oliver Remien’s personality: his friendly and open character, his curiosity and his ever-recurring enthusiasm for novelties were outstanding. With Oliver Remien we do not only loose a great European researcher in the truest sense of the word, but also a dear person and friend. He is dearly missed.
My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.