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A Hard Brexit for Civil International Judicial Assistance?

Friend of Letters Blogatory Peter Bert has observed that the draft Brexit treaty does not seem to make any provision for judicial cooperation in civil cases. As Peter noted almost a year ago, a “hard Brexit” in the field of international judicial assistance would mean that the Hague Service, Evidence, and Choice of Court Agreements Conventions (and maybe the Apostille Convention, though Peter doesn’t mention it specifically) would spring into effect as between the UK and the EU, and that except in cases governed by COCA, there would be no multilateral agreement in place on recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil cases. With respect to COCA, the Convention will be in force between the UK and all EU member states, because the EU approved the Convention as a Regional Economic Integration Organization. With respect to the other conventions, one would have to check (I haven’t) to see whether all EU member states are parties to each convention. (more…)

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Case of the Day: Appel v. Hayut

The case of the day is Appel v. Hayut (SDNY 2020). The plaintiff, Ronit Appel, served process on David Kazhdan, a defendant in Israel, by hiring Rimon Deliveries and Services, apparently an Israeli delivery company, which then mailed the documents to Kazhdan through the Israeli post. Just so that this is clear, the documents were mailed from Rimon, in Israel, to Kazhdan, in Israel. Thus this is not the ordinary postal channels case where the question is the sufficiency of mail sent from the United States to the state of destination. (more…)

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Case of the Day: Lathigee v. BC Securities Commission

The case of the day is Lathigee v. British Columbia Securities Commission (Nev. 2020). The British Columbia securities regulator brought an administrative proceeding in British Columbia for securities fraud against Michael Lathigee. The proceeding resulted in a judgment that he had raised millions of dollars from investors without making necessary disclosures. The regulator ordered disgorgement of “the ill-gotten $21.7 million” to the Commission, which had rules allowing the defrauded investors to make claims and then recover from the disgorged funds. The decision also imposed a $15 million penalty. The Commission registered the decision with the BC Supreme Court, which had the effect, under BC law, of making the decision an enforceable judgment. Lethigee then moved to Nevada, and the Commission brought an action for recognition and enforcement of the disgorgement portion of the judgment (not the penalty portion). Lathigee resisted recognition on the grounds that even the disgorgement portion was a penalty. (more…)

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Case of the Day: Kim v. Min Sun Cha

The case of the day is Kim v. Min Sun Cha (Guam 2020). The wife, a South Korean national, and the husband, a former South Korean national now a US citizen, married in 2012 and had a child. The wife left Guam for South Korea in 2016 with the child, and the husband brought a divorce action in Guam. The wife then brought a divorce action in South Korea, and the husband petitioned the South Korean court to order return of the child to Guam under The Hague Child Abduction Convention. The South Korean court rejected the petition to return the child on the ground that both countries could be considered its habitual residence and because the husband had consented to the child’s stay in South Korea.

The husband had served the wife with process in the Guam action by mail to her last known address, with the Court’s permission. According to the decision, “the envelope mailed to [the wife] did not include a name for the addressee and was discovered by [her] only because the guard at her apartment building told her about an envelope from Guam in the return-to- sender box.” Acting on her attorneys’ advice, she did not respond to the suit. The husband sought entry of default, and then, unusually, made a request to the South Korean central authority for service. The central authority failed to make service and returned a certificate to that effect. The Guamanian judge entered a divorce decree that awarded joint legal custody and gave the husband primary physical custody and ordered the return of the children to Guam. The wife then sought to register the South Korean order denying the husband’s petition for a return in the Guam court, and she sought to set aside the default judgment. The court denied the request to set aside the default judgment, and thew wife appealed. (more…)

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Case of the Day: Strategic Technologies v. Procurement Bureau

The case of the day is Strategic Technologies Pte Ltd. v. Procurement Bureau of the Republic of China Ministry of National Defense, [2020] EWCA Civ. 1604. Strategic Technologies had a contract to supply goods to the Taiwanese government. The contract had an arbitration clause requiring arbitration in Taipei and was governed by Taiwan law. A dispute arose, and Strategic Technologies brought a lawsuit in Singapore. The government sought a stay pending arbitration, which the court granted, but then the government failed to arbitrate. As a result, the stay was lifted and the case went to a default judgment in 2002 (the lower court had held that by participating even to the limited extent of seeking a stay, the Taiwanese government had submitted to the jurisdiction of the Singaporean court). (more…)

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