Interesting Issue of the Day: Recognition of Remote Civil Marriages In Israel

The Forward and friend of Letters Blogatory Eugene Volokh have both written about an interesting case before the Israeli Supreme Court. In Israel, which kept the old Ottoman laws on personal status after independence, all marriages must be contracted in a religious ceremony; there is no civil marriage. This law makes it impossible for some Jews to marry in Israel, for example, because the Chief Rabbinate does not recognize one of the spouses as Jewish. Many Israelis in this situation have gone to Cyprus to have a civil marriage, and under ordinary rules of private international law Israeli courts do recognize such marriages as valid (because they were valid where contracted). But COVID travel restrictions have made that avenue difficult.

Enter Utah, which allows “virtual” weddings in which neither spouse has to be present in Utah. The question is whether Israeli law recognizes such marriages as valid. (more…)

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Read more about the article Tenth Anniversary Post: Melissa Kucinski on the Future of IJA—Family Law Edition
Letters Blogatory Wishes Its Readers a Happy MLK Day!

Tenth Anniversary Post: Melissa Kucinski on the Future of IJA—Family Law Edition

I am truly honored to write this guest blog post celebrating the anniversary of Letters Blogatory. Ted asked that I provide my thoughts on the future of international judicial assistance in the field of family law. I struggled writing this blog post, because nearly every family lawyer would immediately ask, “what is international judicial assistance?”

Family law is one of the best examples of a purely domestic legal practice. Outcomes are achieved in local courts and focus heavily on the family’s local experiences. U.S. family court jurisdiction is typically based on a family member’s local connections. For most family lawyers, when a client from another country walks in our door, it is exciting and exotic… and way above our paygrade. Perhaps I am exaggerating. There have always been clients who have connections to other countries, but I truly envision this growing over the next ten years. COVID has caused many of us to realize the importance of spending time with our families and has us missing time with those in our family who are far from us. It has also shown us that we can work from virtually anywhere and remain connected to colleagues and friends no matter where we sit. I anticipate many more of these international, and domestic, families will seek out opportunities overseas and more routinely travel to spend time with loved ones in far corners of the globe. Coupled with a new administration in Washington, D.C., we may see changing immigration policies, and more movement across our U.S. border. This mobility and multi-jurisdictional lifestyle will complicate the domestic family law practice. It will demonstrate the increasing need for domestic lawyers to seek out education and resources around issues of international judicial assistance. It will create a venue for platforms, like Letters Blogatory, to expand and reach lawyers who have never anticipated needing to know how to serve a litigant in a foreign country, depose a witness overseas, or authenticate a foreign public document for their trial. (more…)

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Tenth Anniversary Post: Steven Loble on the Future of IJA

I would like to thank Ted for the opportunity to contribute to Letters Blogatory. I admire Ted for his hard work, dedication, and discipline in producing quality and topical writings. It is not easy to write so regularly.

International judicial assistance is a huge topic, so I have chosen to deal with just one aspect in this post – obtaining evidence for proceedings in other jurisdictions and what it may be like in 10 years’ time.

As an English lawyer, this is an interesting time. Brexit just happened. The effects are still happening. The Transition Period has just ended, so there will, no doubt, be litigation as whether something happened or is covered by pre-Brexit, transition or post-Brexit rules. (more…)

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Tenth Anniversary Post: Peter Bert on the Future of IJA

Ted’s invitation to share some thoughts about the future of international judicial assistance (IJA) comes at a time when I experience, for the first time, a step backwards in that field: The Brexit Deal between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which in my view is a “sectoral hard Brexit” for civil judicial assistance.

Ever since I attended law school, international judicial assistance progressed in scope and territorial reach, primarily within Europe: The European Union was on a path towards deeper integration on all levels, including the IJA regime: Starting with the Brussels Convention, moving on to the Brussels Regulation and then to Brussels Recast with automatic recognition of judgments. (more…)

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Tenth Anniversary Post: Aaron Lukken on the Future of IJA

When Ted asked me to offer thoughts on developments in IJA in the coming decade, it took no brainstorming to come up with a topic. I drew from a panel at the Peace Palace in The Hague some 137 years ago (before a microbe obliterated travel), which Ted moderated. The topic of the conference: innovation under the Hague Service Convention. Ted’s Talk topic: the use of email (see the second video here) in service of process.

I offer not so much a prediction as an argument for the decade to come. Whether it will come to pass, I don’t know, but the idea of electronic service (i.e., electronic service directly to defendants) should must be embraced worldwide, at least in countries that do not object to Article 10(a). Where 10(a) opposition is declared, authorities should provide a means of electronic submission of Article 5 Requests—as is already available here in the United States, in the People’s Republic of China, and in one of the newest Service Convention countries, the Philippines. (more…)

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Tenth Anniversary Post: Javier Ochoa on the Future of IJA

On the tenth anniversary of Letters Blogatory, my colleague Ted Folkman (to whom I express my admiration and gratitude for his brilliant and hard work with this blog) invited me to write some comments on international judicial assistance (IJA) ten years from now.

I am not drawing a line here between what I wish, what I suggest, and what I really think is going to happen.

The first thing I foresee in ten years is Letters Blogatory celebrating its twenties, with many more readers and a broader scope. It is already a worldwide source of information on the subject.

IJA’s relevance will increase. I don’t know if there is going to be more litigation, but I think that judicial and arbitral litigation will become more transnational and multipolar. Hence, ten years from now, IJA is going to be something that most practitioners will have to deal with. (more…)

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I Am Uninterested in Pearl-clutching

Anyone who thinks Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, etc. wanted to ban Donald Trump and other accounts promoting violent sedition from their platforms because these companies, among the largest in the world, are left-wing political partisans aimed at attacking conservatism is not seeing things straight. They have had years to ban him, and besides, having Mr. Trump and others inflaming passions on the internet is good for business. Anyway, in the long run, these companies want to host as much of the social media “conversation” as they can—the last thing they want, it seems to me, is to prompt the creation of an alternate social media ecosystem. (more…)

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