News

Successful seminar Innovating International Business Courts

On 10 July 2018, the seminar Innovating International Business Courts: A European Outlook was held at the Erasmus School of Law. It was the first big event within our ERC consolidator project Building EU Civil Justice. In total five speakers and seven panellists from the Netherlands, England, France, Germany and Belgium discussed their existing and recently established international commercial courts or initiatives to establish such a court of court chamber (see the seminar flyer).

The sometimes heated debates evolved around the need to establish such courts for international business, the court design and procedural innovations, using English as the court language, the challenges for the judicial system, and the (potential) competitiveness of these courts, also in view of the exit of the UK from the EU as well as the need for collaboration in Europe. Approximately 100  participants from almost twenty European and other countries (including China, South Korea, Iran, and the United States), including judges, practising lawyers, academics, policy makers and business representatives, actively took part in the discussions. These discussions continued during the drinks where four selected PhD candidates presented their poster on a topic relating to international commercial courts.

Papers authored by the speakers and a number of additional papers, selected following a call for papers, will be published in the Erasmus Law Review mid-2019. In addition, a book will be prepared for publication in 2019. Both will not only cover the recent European developments but will take a global perspective.

The seminar was organised by Erasmus School of Law (ERC project ‘Building EU Civil Justice’) of Erasmus University Rotterdam, in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Procedural Law Luxembourg, and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Judicial Administration (Utrecht University).

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EU flag ERC logo

Successful seminar Innovating International Business Courts

On 10 July 2018, the seminar Innovating International Business Courts: A European Outlook was held at the Erasmus School of Law. It was the first big event within our ERC consolidator project Building EU Civil Justice. In total five speakers and seven panellists from the Netherlands, England, France, Germany and Belgium discussed their existing and recently established international commercial courts or initiatives to establish such a court of court chamber (see the seminar flyer).

The sometimes heated debates evolved around the need to establish such courts for international business, the court design and procedural innovations, using English as the court language, the challenges for the judicial system, and the (potential) competitiveness of these courts, also in view of the exit of the UK from the EU as well as the need for collaboration in Europe. Approximately 100  participants from almost twenty European and other countries (including China, South Korea, Iran, and the United States), including judges, practising lawyers, academics, policy makers and business representatives, actively took part in the discussions. These discussions continued during the drinks where four selected PhD candidates presented their poster on a topic relating to international commercial courts.

Papers authored by the speakers and a number of additional papers, selected following a call for papers, will be published in the Erasmus Law Review mid-2019. In addition, a book will be prepared for publication in 2019. Both will not only cover the recent European developments but will take a global perspective.

The seminar was organised by Erasmus School of Law (ERC project ‘Building EU Civil Justice’) of Erasmus University Rotterdam, in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Procedural Law Luxembourg, and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Judicial Administration (Utrecht University).

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Seminar International Business Courts 10 July

On 10 July 2018, a seminar will be held on international business courts. On 1 July 2018, or soon thereafter, the Netherlands Commercial Court is expected to open its doors, while in a number of other Member States similar initiatives are being undertaken or a specialized commercial court is firmly rooted already. These courts are of significant importance to international business litigation, offering tailor-made procedures (including the option to litigate in the English language) and providing an alternative to arbitration.

Eminent speakers from the Netherlands, England, France, Germany and Belgium will discuss these initiatives, the novelties in the court administration and  procedural rules, exchange views on the impact on international commercial and complex litigation, and reflect on the challenges ahead. The seminar will bring together practitioners, academics, business representatives and policy makers from European countries and beyond.

The flyer can be found here. More information on the programme and registration is available here. We have many registrations from all over the world already. Please register as soon as possible. 

The seminar is jointly organised by Erasmus School of Law (ERC project ‘Building EU Civil Justice’) of Erasmus University Rotterdam, in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Procedural Law Luxembourg, and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Judicial Administration (Utrecht University).

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ERC team chairing at A2J conference at UCL and court visit London

From 11 June till 13 June, Xandra, Erlis, Georgia and Emma attended the UCL International Conference on Access to Justice and Legal Services in London, hosted by Centre for Empirical Legal Studies. Participants included international researches, policy makers and legal service professionals and came from all across the world from Brazil to the USA and from Australia to Norway.

Xandra chaired two sessions. The first was on litigants in person, including from the UK and the US on how to support litigants in person and and about pro se litigation in US federal courts. The second one was on ‘Legal aid eligibility’, including presentations on the assessment of the merits of the case in legal aid under ECHR case law and a comparative analysis on eligibility criteria. Erlis chaired a session on ‘Profession’. The panel included presentations on a pilot for specialist legal aid panels in Taiwan, and on an economic analysis of the benefits of early legal advice. The panels led to evolving discussions and insights on how other countries worldwide deal with access to justice issues and provided the opportunity to enter into dialogue on recent developments and innovations. We gained much inspiration and made interesting connections which we will use to build further on our EU civil justice project.

We also made use of our stay to visit the Royal Courts, where we had a very fruitful meeting with Sir Ryder (Senior President of Tribunals) to aid our empirical research in England.

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Team coached by ERC members make it to finals in PIL moot

Three ERC members (Xandra Kramer, Erlis Themeli and Georgia Antonopoulou) in collaboration with other members of our department (Alina Ontanu, Marta Kolacz, Priskila Penasthika) coached the Erasmus Law School team in the Pax Moot Court on Private International Law.

In this picture our students Despoina Mouridi, Melvin Hanswijk, Benedicte Mourisse and Emma Ustunalp (from right to left) are happily posing to Xandra’s photographic lens before the Peace Palace in The Hague. They have just won the second place in the finals.

These four students were selected to represent ESL in the first global Pax Moot competition. Together with their coaches they the students studied and intensively prepared the ‘case’. It concerned a civil action claiming damages for environmental damage in Bolivia allegedly caused by a Dutch group of companies. Furthermore, the ‘case’ involved parallel proceedings before different EU courts, investment arbitration proceedings, and raised issues of collective actions before the Dutch courts.

On 22 May 2018, the ESL Pax Moot Court team visited the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris and pleaded against the team representing the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Following the successful preliminary round in Paris, the team won the semi-finals against Paris I Sorbonne in The Hague. In the finals the Erasmus team encountered the Sciences Po students. Both teams pleaded for the first prize with creativity and inspiring enthusiasm. As the presiding moot judge (Hans van Loon, former Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law) explained, after long deliberations the scale finally tipped in favour of our French opponents. Nevertheless, our students Melvin Hanswijk and Despoina Mouridi received special commendations from the jury for their pleading skills and Melvin was offered an internship with the law firm NautaDutilh. We would like to thank the students for their remarkable effort and commitment, and hope that this moot experience will remain a beautiful memory helpful for their future career. It was great coaching you!

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Annual review day EGSL

On 31 May, Georgia Antonopoulou and Emma van Gelder participated in the annual Review day, organized by the Erasmus Graduate School of Law. During this event all first year PhD researchers had the opportunity to present their research to the academic staff. Georgia and Emma gave a pitch on their PhD research on international commercial courts and ODR, followed by a discussion. All in all, it was an inspiring review day! The formal evaluation of the first year accomplishments will follow in the next months.

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Presentations on European Rules of Civil Procedure

Xandra Kramer gave two presentations at a conference on Harmonization of Civil Procedure in Europe in Dubrovnik on 28 and 29 May 2018. 

The first one focused on the EU civil justice agenda and the ELI-Unidroit project on European Rules of Civil Procedure as a model for Europe. The second presentation discussed the work on provisional measures within this project and its potential for a European approach to provisional relief in the national and cross-border context. 

 

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PIL moot team supervised by ERC team to finals

Several members of the ERC team (Georgia Antonopoulou, Xandra Kramer and Erlis Themeli) together with other members of the private law department (in particular Alina Ontanu, Marta Kolacz and Priskila Penasthika) supervised the Erasmus moot team competing in the private international law Pax Moot organized by Sciences Po Paris. The elimination round took place at the ICC in Paris on 22 May 2018 and the Erasmus team made it to the finals. Congratulations to our mooties (FLTR) Emma Ustunalp, Benedicte Mourisse, Despoina Mouridi (lead counsel in Paris), and Melvin Hanswijk!

The problem concerned a climate change case adressing a range of complex transnational litigation issues. The final round will take place at the Peace Peace in the Hague on 1 June 2018.

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Presentation ODR and AI at expert group meeting AI and legal decision-making

Xandra Kramer gave a talk at the Expert group meeting on the use of AI in legal decision-making organized by Erlis Themeli on 24 May 2018. It focused on online dispute resolution as a stepping stone to artificial decision-making in the judiciary. Developments at the European level and in the Netherlands were discussed.

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Expert group meeting on the use of AI in legal decision-making

On 24 May 2018 an expert roundtable took place at the Erasmus University Rotterdam entitled ‘The use of artificial intelligence in legal decision-making’. This Roundtable was organized by Dr. Erlis Themeli, Dr. Stefan Philipsen, and Prof. Evert Stamhuis with the support of the Erasmus Initiative Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity. The experts attending the event came from the legal practice, government, academia, and ICT sector. The aim of the roundtable was to map the developments in and research on the use of AI in legal decision-making, and to outline a research agenda for the near future. Prof. Stefano Puntoni (Rotterdam School of Management) and Prof. Xandra Kramer were invited to provide some ‘food for thought’ for the participants and to contribute to the discussion.

AI is one the frontiers of the digitalization of justice. It has the potential to increase access to justice and to improve the position of vulnerable parties. However, AI remains complex and its use in the application of justice carries the risk of creating a ‘black-box’ without transparency or accountability. As was pointed out in the Roundtable, the use of AI in legal decision-making creates legal, economic, as well as ethical dilemmas. What would happen if the judge is a machine? Is there a right to a human judge? What is the added value of a human judge? Is it possible to fully comprehend the decisions of a machine? These questions form the outline of a future research agenda into the use of AI in legal decision-making.

Considering the success of the event, the organizers plan to develop a theoretical framework and to design an empirical research on the reception of automated decision-making by court users.

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Call for papers on International Business Courts (ELR)

Erasmus School of Law (under the ERC project Building EU Civil Justice) in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Procedural Law Luxembourg, and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice (Utrecht University), hosts the seminar ‘Innovating International Business Courts: A European Outlook’ that will take place in Rotterdam on 10 July 2018.

In relation thereto Erasmus Law Review invites submissions for its upcoming special issue on International Business Courts – A European and Global Perspective on topics relating to court specialization, specifically relating to the development of international business courts in Europe and beyond, and focusing on justice innovation and their relevance for access to justice and the judicial system, including the challenges they may pose for judicial administration, litigants and other stakeholders. Contributions can be theoretical, empirical as well as policy oriented. Interdisciplinary approaches are especially encouraged. The issue will also include papers focusing on the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (England and Wales), France, Germany, and deriving from the seminar.

Authors of selected papers will be exempt from registration fees for the seminar and will have the opportunity to present a poster during the drinks after the seminar.

Please submit an abstract in English of no more than 500 words to Erlis Themeli (themeli@law.eur.nl) and Alexandre Biard (biard@law.eur.nl) before 10 June 2018. Include your name, affiliation, and a link to your research profile. You will be informed on the outcome on 24 June 2018 at the latest. Responsible issue editors are Xandra Kramer (Erasmus University Rotterdam/Utrecht University) and John Sorabji (University College, London).

The final paper should be 8,000-12,000 words in length (including footnotes) and must comply with the Erasmus Law Review’s Authors Guidelines. Selected papers will go through the regular double-blind peer review process and publication is subject to the outcome of this review process. The deadline for submission of the paper is 1 October 2018.

For more information see the Call for Papers.

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Presenting at ADR Conference organised by Leicester University, May 2018

On 10 May 2018, Emma van Gelder and Alexandre Biard presented their work-in-progress at the ADR Conference that took place at Leicester University, England. The conference dealt with new approaches to ADR. Within the panel ‘designing and implementing ODR in Europe’, Emma presented her paper on ‘Private Initiatives Supporting (court) Digitization in the Netherlands: Sparking Controversy!’ She focused on private ODR tools in the Netherlands. She took the so-called ‘e-Court’ initiative as a case study. She identified the main criticisms and drew more general lessons for the broader practice of private ODR systems. Alexandre presented a paper entitled ‘Promise Kept? Impact of Directive 2013/11/EU on ADR Quality', within the panel ‘comparative perspectives on consumer ADR’. He highlighted the effects of the 2013 Consumer ADR Directive on the quality of ADR schemes in several Member States, including France, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

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Presenting at Cyberjustice Workshop in Bologna

Xandra Kramer presented on online dispute resolution ('ODR: Advancing Digital Justice in Europe and some lessons from the Netherlands) at a Cyberjustice workshop organized by CNR-IRSIG in Bologna on 10 May 2018.

The presentation focused on the EU digital agenda, the policy to encourage and facilitate the use of ICT in various instruments on cross-border litigation, and the first year of experience with the ODR platform. In addition, she addressed the present situation in the Netherlands, the ambitious agenda to implement digitisation within the context of the Quality and Innnovation of Justice Program, and the recent problems encountered. See also our news item on the deadlock in the digitisation of the Dutch judiciary.

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Seminar International Business Courts - registration is open

On 10 July 2018, a seminar will be held on international business courts. On 1 July 2018, the Netherlands Commercial Court will open its doors, while in a number of other Member States similar initiatives are being undertaken or a specialized commercial court is firmly rooted already. These courts are of significant importance to international business litigation, offering tailor-made procedures (including the option to litigate in the English language) and providing an alternative to arbitration. Eminent speakers from the Netherlands, England, France, Germany and Belgium will discuss these initiatives, the novelties in the court administration and  procedural rules, exchange views on the impact on international commercial and complex litigation, and reflect on the challenges ahead. The seminar will bring together practitioners, academics, business representatives and policy makers from different Member States.

The flyer can be found here. More information on the programme and registration is available here.

The seminar is jointly organised by Erasmus School of Law (ERC project ‘Building EU Civil Justice’) of Erasmus University Rotterdam, in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Procedural Law Luxembourg, and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Judicial Administration (Utrecht University).

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Deadlock in digitisation Dutch judiciary

A few weeks ago, alarming messages appeared in the Dutch media, stating that the digitisation of justice project in the Netherlands had failed, and that the project would be discontinued. Concerns about the QAI digitisation project have been in evidence over a longer period, mainly regarding delays in the implementation and the costs. The Minister of Legal Protection adjusted the decision of the Council for the Judiciary to reset QAI, stating that the QAI was frozen. Further discussions with the Council to ensure that certain basic safeguards are in place have to be awaited. In this blogpost, Emma van Gelder and Xandra Kramer highlight key issues underlying what seems to be a crisis in the digitisation of justice in the Netherlands, and discuss the way forward.

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Save the date: Seminar Innovating International Business Courts

On 10 July 2018, a seminar will be held on the establishment of international business courts in a number of Member States. It aims to discuss these initiatives, in particular the novelties in the court administration and the procedural rules; to exchange views on the possible impact on international commercial and complex litigation; and to reflect on the challenges ahead. The seminar will bring together practitioners, academics, business representatives and policy makers from different Member States.

The seminar is organised by Erasmus School of Law (ERC project ‘Building EU Civil Justice’) of Erasmus University Rotterdam, in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Procedural Law Luxembourg, and the Montaigne Centre for Judicial Administration and Conflict Resolution (Utrecht University)

More information will follow soon.  

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In Memoriam: Prof. dr. Marcel Storme

On 30 March 2018, at the age of 87, Prof. Marcel Storme passed away in his beloved home city of Ghent. Over and above his many other professional capacities, he was primarily professor emeritus of civil procedure at the University of Ghent, and honorary president of the International Association of Procedural Law. His visionary work in the field of civil procedure and his passion for the harmonisation of procedural laws in Europe remain of immeasurable value.

Professor Storme, in my 2012 inaugural lecture, I called you one of the founding fathers of European civil procedure, and referred to your ‘cathedral builder’s dream’ (Riksumeikan Law Review, 2005). In the same lecture, I also thanked you for being a tremendous source of inspiration. And that is precisely what you have been, and will continue to be. From the beginning, you supported me every step of the way along the path of my career − sometimes visibly and other times behind the scenes. You were present at my inaugural lectures in Rotterdam and Leuven, and at the procedural law conferences I organised in Rotterdam; and you were never more than an email away whenever I needed to call upon you. You were so proud when the endowed chair on European civil procedure − now merged with a permanent chair within the private law department − was established in Rotterdam. I cherish the collection of mostly handwritten letters, the kind notes in the books and paper extracts you gave to me, and every occasion of your personal encouragement over the years. You wrote that not only do I fuel the flame of European civil procedure but academically I also keep it burning.

Dear Professor Storme, dear Marcel, together with my ERC team and our wonderful group of international colleagues and friends (your 'biotope'), I will keep alive your dream of building upon civil justice in Europe. Thank you so much for all you have done for me and for so many others. I can end this tribute in no other way than in the four languages you used so easily and interchangeably in your talks: rest in peace – repose en paix – rust in vrede – ruhe in frieden.

Xandra Kramer

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PhD Defence Erlis Themeli: The Great Race of Courts

On 23 March, Erlis Themeli defended his thesis "The Great Race of Courts, Civil Justice System Competition in the European Union" at the Erasmus School of Law. His study focuses on the civil justice system competition in the EU, a form of regulatory competition in which states try to attract parties to litigate in their jurisdictions. Building on an interdisciplinary methodology, his study offers an in-depth theoretical and empirical research analysing the competition currently taking place between civil justice systems. It focuses in particular on the motivations and attitudes of governments and litigants, and presents the findings of a survey conducted with lawyers from the largest law firms in Europe. Erlis Themeli is working on the postdoc project Digitalisation of Civil Justice (eJustice).

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PhD Defence Jos Hoevenaars: A People’s Court?

On 19 March, Jos Hoevenaars succesfully defended his PhD thesis "A People's Court? A Bottom-Up Approach to Litigation before the European Court of Justice" at the Radbout University Nijmegen. His research focused on the role of individual litigation before the Court of Justice of the European Union, uncovering the (im)possibilities of the empowerment of citizens through EU law. By focusing specifically on the practicalities of ‘Eurolitigation' through the preliminary reference procedure this study aims to open the ‘black box' of Eurolitigation and to give a critical examination of the possibilities of citizen empowerment through EU law. Jos Hoevenaars is working on the postdoc project Self-Representation in Civil Justice.

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This one is next: the Netherlands Commercial Court!

On 8 March, the bill on the establishment of the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) was passed by the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer). The bill is now scheduled for rubber-stamping by the Senate (Eerste Kamer) on 27 March 2018. The NCC is expected to open its doors on 1 July 2018 or shortly after. Xandra Kramer, Erlis Themeli and Georgia Antonopoulou prepared a short post (and update) for conflictoflaws.net, which has also been published on the website on European Civil Procedure. The establishment of the NCC is particularly important for the subproject Court Specialization, which is conducted by Georgia Antonopoulou.

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Court systems and private international law

On 2 March Xandra Kramer gave a talk at a conference in Berlin on 'How European is European Private International Law?'. She focused on the how the judicial infrastructure can contribute to the application of European private international law rules, using among others aggregated statistics on the number of preliminary questions of national courts in the Member States and an inventory among experts and stakeholders in a number of Member States. One of the issues addressed was the rise of international commercial courts, in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany in particular, as is studied in depth by Georgia Antonopoulou in our ERC project. These courts are, however, not established with a view to facilitating the proper application of EU private international law rules.

Whereas specialized courts, special chambers within courts, specialised judges, court experts, judicial training, formal (e.g. EJN) and informal networks are useful to improve the application of these rules, it should be realized that in many courts these rules are only relevant in relatively a small number of cases, and measures should be cost-effective not to burden the available court budget. In addition, reflection is necessary as to the role of European private international law in view of current developments and  the political and social climate in the EU. 

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Presenting at the Self-Represented Litigation Network Conference

Xandra Kramer and Jos Hoevenaars participated in the second annual Self-Represented Litigation Network Conference in San Francisco on 22-23 February. They co-hosted a panel on determining best practices and the intersection of research methodologies, and presented the ERC project () to a broad American audience of members of the SRLN network. The panel, co-hosted by Renee Danser (Deputy Director of the SRLN network), Erika Rickard (Associate Director of Field Research, Access to Justice Lab, Harvard Law School) and Jamie Gamble (Program Director, National Center for Access to Justice) focused on the US ‘Justice Index’ and included an interactive discussion on pros, cons and complementarities of approaches to determining and measuring best practices with regard to access to justice, as well as approaches to Access to justice across the Atlantic.

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International Commercial Courts in Europe – A chain reaction?

In early February 2018, the French Minister of Justice inaugurated the International Commercial Chamber of the Paris Court of Appeals. This Chamber will handle disputes arising from international commercial contracts. More importantly, parties may use English in front of the court. Georgia Antonopoulou and Erlis Themeli prepared a short post for the ‘Conflict of Laws’ where they provide a brief overview on this new event. Furthermore, they reflect on similar developments in other Member States, and question whether or not we are in front of a domino effect and which Member State will take a similar step.

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Self-Represented Litigation Network - Access to Justice Across the Atlantic

Xandra Kramer and Jos Hoevenaars will host a panel at the Self-Represented Litigation Network Conference 2018 in San Francisco on 22-23 February. This part of our research, primarily conducted by Jos, will scrutinize self-representation trends against the backdrop of access to justice. It focuses on how self-representation changes procedural dynamics between courts and parties as well as the repercussions for the effectiveness of litigation and procedural justice as components of access to justice. The panel, with a roundtable format, aims to bring together researchers and practitioners from different jurisdictions, to foster cross-Atlantic ties and collaborations, and provides an opportunity for the exchange of insights and experiences. Join us in San Francisco on 23 February!

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e-Court in the Netherlands

Recently, there has been a lot of criticism on e-Court including in a recent Dutch television program ‘Nieuwsuur’. E-Court is a private initiative of online dispute resolution in the Netherlands. Emma van Gelder wrote a blogpost on e-Court, in which she acknowledges and discusses the criticism. Next to the criticism, she sets out the key benefits of a system of online dispute resolution.

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Conference on the Development of Consumer ADR

On 9 January 2018, Alexandre Biard participated in a conference hosted by the French energy Ombudsman (Médiateur de l’énergie) with key stakeholders from European and French consumer ADR sectors: representatives of the Commission d’Evaluation et de Contrôle de la Médiation (the authority in charge of certifying and supervising consumer ADR providers in France), various European ombudsmen and mediators, consumers associations, officials from the Ministry of Justice, and academics.

Together, they reviewed and assessed the development of consumer ADR, two years after the implementation of the Consumer ADR Directive in France, and drew some comparisons with the experience acquired in several other Member States.

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Xandra Kramer joins board Netherlands International Law Review


On 1 January 2018, Xandra Kramer joined the editing board of the Netherlands International Law Review (NILR). NILR was established in 1953 and is one of the world’s leading journals in the fields of public and private international law that publishes peer-reviewed, innovative and challening articles.

A few months earlier, after nine years, she stepped back as the editor-in-chief of the Dutch journal Nederlands Internationaal Privaatrecht, but she continues to be a member of the editorial board.
 

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Publication of ‘From Common Rules to Best Practices in European Civil Procedure’

In December, the book ‘From common rules to best practices in European Civil Procedure’ was published, edited by Professors Burkhard Hess and Xandra Kramer. The book is the result of a concluding five year grant project by Xandra Kramer (PI), provided under  the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme Vidi grant of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Part of the papers is also important as a point of departure for the current project, in particular part II on E-Justice and part III on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the context of judicial cooperation.

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Functioning of the ODR Platform: EU Commission Publishes First Results

On 13 December 2017, the European Commission published a report on the functioning of the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform for consumer disputes, and the findings of a web-scraping exercise of EU traders’ websites investigating traders’ compliance with their information obligations vis-à-vis consumers. Emma van Gelder and Alexandre Biard wrote a blogpost detailing key results.

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Presentations on digitalizing justice at Ius Commune Conference

On 24 November 2017, Xandra Kramer, Emma van Gelder and Erlis Themeli presented their work on the digitalization of justice at the Ius Commune Conference (workshop on civil procedure). The presentation prepared by Erlis focused on general aspects of the digitalization of justice. Xandra discussed the digitalization resulting from the Dutch Quality and Innovation of Justice program. Emma concluded with a presentation on Online Dispute Resolution, discussing private initiatives on digitalization in out-of-court dispute resolution and developments at the EU level concerning ADR/ODR. Subsequently, Xandra and Emma participated in a panel discussion, receiving interesting questions from the audience and resulting in vivid discussions generating fruitful insights.

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Digitalisation in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is one of the pioneers in digitalisation worldwide. Next to the implementation of the Quality and Innovation project (KEI) within the courts, digitalisation is increasingly taking place in out-of-court dispute resolution. Emma van Gelder discusses two well-known examples of private initiatives of digitalisation in the Netherlands and subsequently assesses the online tools against the background of access to justice.

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Establishment of the Advisory Board

Our advisory board has been established. The members are prof. dr. Burkhard Hess (Heidelberg University), prof. dr. Christopher Hodges (University of Oxford), prof. dr. Peter Mascini (Erasmus University Rotterdam), prof. dr. Elisabetta Silvestri (University of Pavia), dr. John Sorabji (University College London) and prof. dr. Sebastian Spinei (Lucian Blaga University). The advisory board will offer expertise on national law and specific topics of our research, and will support in the design and implementation of empirical research where necessary.

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ERC project discussed at Queen Mary University London

On 22 November 2017, Xandra Kramer and Jos Hoevenaars presented the ERC project at the Erasmus-Queen Mary Dialogues meeting at Queen Mary University London. Xandra presented the background, objectives, and challenges of the project. Jos zoomed in on his postdoc project on self-representation, benefitting from two meetings he had with English experts on the day before. We received valuable feedback from commentator Eva Nanopoulos (Queen Mary) and other participants.

 

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A2J and Navigating the Maze of the Law

Xandra Kramer and Christoph Engel (ESL; Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods) presented their ideas for a vignette study on how laypeople navigate the maze of the law at Erasmus School of Law on 16 November 2017. The study aims to  investigate the relevance of legal uncertainty for the decision of laypersons to rely on the legal system as a means for seeking redress.

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Publication of the Encyclopedia of Private International Law

The Encyclopedia of Private International Law has been published. The encyclopedia is written by 181 authors from 57 countries and among them is Xandra Kramer, who authored a part on Legal Aid, which is an important subject for Access to Justice. 

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Presentation Eurojuris International

On 14 October, Xandra Kramer gave a lecture and workshop for members of the EUROJURIS INTERNATIONAL Litigation, ADR & Contracts Practice Group, on the ocassion of the 25th anniversary of Eurojuris (a leading network of law firms) in Brussels. She presented new developments in the area of international commercial litigation and ADR in Europe and discussed the consequences of Brexit for international litigation in Europe.

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Presentations collective redress at European Law Academy

On 12 October, two team members presented on collective redress at the annual consumer conference at the European Law Academy in Trier. Alexandre Biard presented a paper on the Recommendation on collective redress and the upcoming evaluation. Xandra Kramer gave a talk on Dutch collective settlements and the pending bill on collective compensatory actions, and chaired a lively round table discussion on safeguards to avoid abuse of collective redress mechanisms in the EU.

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Opinion on Netherlands Commercial Court in financial newspaper FD

Xandra Kramer in collaboration with Eddy Bauw (professor at the Universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam) published an opinion in the Dutch financial newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad (FD) on the Netherlands Commercial Court. Providing counter arguments to an opinion published in the FD of last week, it contends that generally this initiative should be welcomed as it equips the court better to offer high quality and more tailor-made justice. The bill to establish this specialized chamber of the Amsterdam District court is currently pending in Parliament. It aims to facilitate the handling of complex, commercial and international cases, among others by allowing parties to choose English as the language of the litigation.

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Dutch collective redress dangerous? A call for a more nuanced approach

Recently, the Dutch approach to the resolution of mass claims, including the Mass Claim Settlement Act (WCAM), has been criticised by the US ILR for failing to comply with the European Commission’s 2013 Recommendation on Collective Redress, and therefore being particularly prone to abuses. In response to this, Xandra Kramer and Alexandre Biard in collaboration with Ilja Tillema wrote a blogpost calling for a more nuanced approach, and stressed that it remains of the utmost importance that both drawbacks and benefits of collective redress mechanism be thoroughly addressed and assessed.

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Pathways to empirical legal research

The ERC team had the opportunity to further explore the use of empirical methodologies in legal research and its relevance in the context of the ERC project. On 22 September 2017, Georgia Antonopoulou and Emma van Gelder attended the Ius Commune Empirical Legal Research Workshop organized at Maastricht University, where they discussed and exchanged ideas with empirical legal experts on key topics concerning empirical research relevant to the project, including data gathering and data interpretation. On 26 September Alexandre Biard and Emma van Gelder attended a guest lecture at Leuven University, where they further considered the relevance of empirics when applied to the ADR sector during a guest lecture given by Professor Deborah Hensler from Stanford University.

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Kick-off meeting EGSL for PhD researchers

On 21 September 2017, the kick-off meeting of Erasmus Graduate School of Law (EGSL) of Erasmus School of Law took place where Emma van Gelder and Georgia Antonopoulou introduced themselves and their research projects. During this first year they will follow research-related courses to guide them in their PhD research.

Erlis Themeli was a panel member exchanging experiences and good practices on how to successfully pursue a PhD research.

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Presentation ERC project at BACT annual meeting

On 21 September 2017, Xandra Kramer presented the ERC project and all team members introduced their subproject at the annual meeting of the multi-disciplinary and international research program BACT at Erasmus School of Law. The synergies with projects of other researchers within the program  strengthens the ERC research.

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Effective Access to Courts v. Compulsory Mediation Procedures:  CJEU Clarifies the Matter

On 14 June 2017, the First Chamber of the CJEU delivered an interesting preliminary ruling (case C-75/16, Menini & Rampanelli v Banco Popolare – Società Cooperativa) bringing in new insights on the admissibility of compulsory mediation procedures in the EU. Alexandre Biard wrote a blogpost on the case and implications of the ruling here.

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Participation in ELI Annual Conference

Several team members participated in the ELI annual conference that took place in Vienna from 6-8 September 2017. On 7 September Xandra Kramer, as Co-Reporter of the “Structure” working group, presented the progress of the ELI-UNIDROIT joint project “European Rules of Civil Procedure” that is expected to contribute significantly to the development of European civil procedure. The first official consolidated draft of three sets of civil procedure rules on evidence, provisional measures and the service of documents was critically discussed with the panelists and the participants. The team members attended among others the “The Courts and Alternative Dispute Resolution” panel, which focused on court-based dispute resolution processes (“CBDRPs”) and the various challenges arising from it as well as panels on digitalization In addition, the team participated in the Special Interest Groups on Digital Law and Dispute Resolution, where cutting-edge developments in each field were presented. During the SIG meeting on Dispute Resolution the team had the chance to briefly introduce the ERC project and to exchange ideas on the establishment of specialized international courts in particular.

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Kick-off ERC project

On 1 September 2017, the ERC project team had its kick-off meeting, discussion content, organization and strategy of the project. The team consists of three postdocs, Erlis Themeli, Alexandre Biard and Jos Hoevenaars and two PhD candidates, Emma van Gelder and Georgia Antonopoulou. Kyra Hanemaayer has been appointed as student assistant to support the project team. Go to team for more information on the project team.

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Xandra Kramer presents on eJustice at Wiesbaden Conference

On 23 June 2017 Xandra Kramer gave a presentation on 'Digitalization at full speed: Innovating justice in the Netherlands' at a conference organized by the EBS Law School in Wiesbaden dedicated to the 'Digital Single Market: Bausteine eines Digitalen Binnenmarktes'. The paper will be published in a conference volume in 2018.

 

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ERC Consolidator Grant awarded to Xandra Kramer

Xandra Kramer was awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant for her project on Building EU civil justice: challenges of procedural innovations bridging access to justice. We are currently recruiting three postdocs and two PhD researchers and will finalize the selection well before the kick-off on 1 September 2017.

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