EAPIL Working Group on International Property Law

Chair and contact

Eva-Maria Kieninger (kieninger@jura.uni-wuerzburg.de).

Type of Group

Working Group with a limited number of participants.

Current members

  • Janeen Carruthers (University of Glasgow)
  • Gilles Cuniberti (University of Luxemburg)
  • Morten Fogt (University of Aarhus)
  • Ivan Heredia (Garrigues, Madrid)
  • Teemu Juutilainen (University of Turku)
  • Eva-Maria Kieninger (University of Wuerzburg)
  • Afonso Patrão (University of Coimbra)
  • Teun Struycken (University of Utrecht)
  • Jonathan Schenk (University of Antwerpen)
  • Balázs Völcsey (Eötvös Lóránd University)
  • Anna Wysocka-Bar (Jagiellonian University of Krakow)
The Working Group is still considering applications for membership, especially from Eastern European Member States.

Consultative Committee

The Committee is in the process of being constituted.

Mission statement

So far, International Property Law has not been a subject of its own of any Europeanisation of Private International Law, but it has been touched upon at its margins by the European succession regulation (see the famous Kubicka case) and the Regulation on matrimonial property. Rights in rem also play a role for the rules on exclusive jurisdiction (Article 24 nr. 1 Brussels Ibis Regulation). Furthermore, numerous directives, especially in the realm of financial law, use the lex rei sitae as a connecting factor.

This fragmentation and the fact that Member States’ autonomous rules on international property law are by far not uniform although most, if not all, still use the lex rei sitae principle as a starting point, call for some in-depth study on the continuing value as well as the disadvantages of the lex rei sitae rule, its scope in relation to property, whose situs is unclear/unknown/accidental, and the possible role and limitations of freedom of choice of law.

Challenges and aims

The Working Group on International Property Law (“WGIPL”) aims to:

  • exchange information on current legislation and case law in the field of international property law, with a focus on (but not limited to) the EU Member States
  • draw up proposals for law reform and codification of international property law both on the level of the EU and on national/international levels.
Scope and approach

It is tentatively suggested that such proposal should encompass:

  • the lex situs principle
  • an enumerative list of topics within the scope of the rules
  • a recognition rule on conflit mobile
  • a general exception clause for cases in which there is a stronger connection to the laws of another jurisdiction than the jurisdiction of the situs
  • special rules for
    • assets without a situs
    • assets with a fortuitous situs
    • assets in orbit in space
    • goods in transit
    • stolen goods
    • the protection of a bona fide purchaser

The WGIPL intends to liaise with

  • the European Commission
  • the Hague Conference on PIL
  • scholars in relevant jurisdictions
  • practitioners in the fields of asset finance, including aircraft and shipping

The WGIPL shall consist of scholars and practitioners with a special interest or demonstrable experience in the field of international property law, including asset finance and asset based lending.

First Meeting of the Working Group

From November 15 to 17, 2021, the members of the Working Group held a first meeting in Würzburg. Everyone was warmly welcomed by the chair of the working group, Eva-Maria Kieninger. The meeting was kicked off by all members presenting the rules on international property law of their own country, as well as other countries. Statutory provisions and case law were discussed. The national reports covered the jurisdictions of Belgium, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden), Poland, Portugal, and Scotland.

Subsequently, the members discussed several specific topics that are relevant for the project. They debated inter alia on the specific nature of cultural goods, the ambit of party autonomy in the context of immovable security rights, the influence of the free movement rules on international property law, several possibilities to solve the conflit mobile problem for movables, and whether Article 345 TFEU can form an obstacle for a future Regulation on international property law.

Before the meeting was closed, the members discussed how the working group would proceed. Several members were appointed as “reporters” on topics that will further be examined: conflit mobile (Teun Struycken & Teemu Juutilainen), immovables and the possibility of party autonomy for mortgages (Afonso Patrão), the scope of the lex situs rule (Morten Fogt & Gilles Cuniberti), and a specific rule for res in transitu (Anna Wysocka-Bar), for cars (Eva-Maria Kieninger), and for cultural goods and stolen property (Janeen Carruthers).

Second Meeting of the Working Group

The second meeting of the Working Group was held in Aarhus on June 2nd, 2022.

Third Meeting of the Working Group

The third meeting of the Working Group was held in Luxembourg on October 6-8th, 2022.

Fourth Meeting of the Working Group

The fourth meeting of the Working Group was held in Amsterdam on 29-31 March 2023.