This section contains summaries of public meetings that have been held recently as well as summaries of, or references to, other notable developments.
Public Meeting on Electronic Transferrable Records. A public meeting on Electronic Commerce was held, under the auspices of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law, on October 27, 2014 at the Department of State, Annex 4, South Building, 2430 E Street, NW, Washington DC. The meeting was chaired by a representative of the Office of the Assistant Legal Adviser for Private International Law.
Working Group IV (Electronic Commerce) of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is currently focusing on electronic transferable records. The Working Group has not decided what type of instrument it might ultimately pursue but decided that it would be efficient to work based on the text of a model law. In response to a request from Working Group IV, the UNCITRAL Secretariat drafted a Note containing draft articles for a model law on electronic transferable records. The 47th, 48th and 49th Sessions of Working Group IV discussed the draft articles. Based on these discussions, the Secretariat drafted an updated Note (A/CN.9/WG.IV/WP.130 and A/CN.9/WG.IV/WP.130/Add.1) containing draft articles. The updated Note contains draft articles addressing (A) general provisions; (B) provisions on electronic transactions; (C) use of electronic transferable records; (D) third-party service providers; and (E) cross-border recognition of electronic transferable records. This updated Note will be discussed during the 50th Session of Working Group IV November 10-14, 2014.
Participants in the public meeting were asked to provide comments on the draft articles in advance of the Working Group meeting.
No matter was resolved. No report was approved.
Public Meeting on the Hague Judgments Project Summary. A public meeting of the Study Group on the Hague Judgments Project was held, under the auspices of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law, on November 10, 2014 at the State Department, Office of Private International Law, South Building, 23rd and D Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.
A working group of experts has been meeting under the auspices of the Hague Conference on Private International Law to explore provisions of a convention on the recognition and enforcement of judgments. This working group has met on three occasions, in February 2013, February 2014, and October 2014. The next meeting of the working group is scheduled for February 2015. The public meeting was convened to review proposals and discussions at the working group thus far, and to obtain comments from participants on possible ways forward for the United States in this working group.
An update was provided on the progress of the Working Group, including the emergence of two possible approaches to the structure of a future convention. One approach would set forth some basic jurisdictional criteria for recognition and enforcement, whereas another approach would seek to avoid or minimize the use of jurisdictional criteria.
There was a discussion of certain basic jurisdictional criteria that could be part of a convention, along with certain additional jurisdictional criteria to which Contracting States could “opt in” or “opt out” in some manner. Citing prior attempts at the Hague Conference to reach agreement on jurisdictional bases, concerns were expressed about the likelihood of reaching consensus on the provisions of a judgments convention based on jurisdictional criteria. It was noted that there was general agreement among members of the Hague Conference to continue the work of the Working Group, and that the United States should continue to work constructively to develop the best possible provisions for a future instrument.
No matter was resolved. No report was approved.
Child Maintenance. Section 459A of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 659A) authorizes the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to declare foreign countries, or their political subdivisions, to be reciprocating countries for the purpose of the enforcement of family support obligations. The Federal Register notice can be found in the Federal Register, Vol. 79, No. 161, printed Wednesday, August 20, 2014, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-08-20/pdf/2014-19794.pdf , which includes a chart listing those countries.
50th Anniversaries of U.S. Membership in the Hague Conference and UNIDROIT. This year marks the 50th anniversary of U.S. membership in these two small but important international organizations. In particular, October 15, 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the United States becoming a member state of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. The United States celebrated its 50th anniversary of membership in the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) on March 13, 2014.
ACPIL Annual Meeting. The annual meeting of the Advisory Committee on Private International Law was held on November 3, 2014, at George Washington University Law School. The one day meeting was attended by 70 participants. Topics of discussion included updates on recent developments in private international law, description of progress in the domestic implementation of private international law treaties, and an open forum on the longer-term future of private international law.