Case C-20/17 Oberle on the EU Succession Regulation – The rise of a true European property law?

On 21 June 2018 the CJEU took its third decision after the EU Succession Regulation entered into force on 17 August 2015. The EU Succession Regulation is a revolutionary piece of EU legislation with very far reaching effect on national law. Although many authors have tried, both during the process of negotiations and after its adoption and entry into force, to limit the effects, the effects turn out to be far reaching indeed. In short, the EU Succession Regulation allows for a single legal system to apply to an entire succession estate and introduces a European certificate of succession that can serve as evidence throughout the EU of the rights and obligations arising under that succession regime, which is to be issued by a single competent authority.

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Publicity and Privacy in Land Reform in Scotland

This post is co-written by Dr. Jill Robbie (Glasgow University) and Anna Berlee (MEPLI fellow). It is a cross-post from the University of Glasgow School of Law Blog.

The previous post by Dr. Akkermans already mentioned the Land Reform in Scotland as an example of creative private law solutions. Today we would like to delve in a bit more with a specific eye to the reforms proposed in land registration  in Scotland looked at also in a broader light with perspectives from the EU with its recent 4th Money Laundering Directive and individual Member States like Germany with its limited access to land information. 

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New EU Succession Rules enter into force

On 17 August, after years of negotiations, followed by years of preparations, Regulation 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of succession and on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession (the ‘Regulation’) enters into force. Although toned down from its original proposed version, the Regulation brings a ‘revolution’ in private international law and substantive succession and property law.

Until now each legal system deals with its own succession cases based on the lex rei sitae principle: the law of the place where the object is situated, decides on the applicable succession law and jurisdiction of the court. Until 16 August 2015, international succession cases – i.e. situations in which there is either a person with multiple nationalities, or property, in whatever form, in different countries. The Regulation brings revolution to this by creating a uniform regime that applies to an entire succession.

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The Capital Markets Union Proposal: Private Law back at the forefront of European Integration

On 22 June 2015 the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, in close collaboration with the president of the European Union (Tusk), Eurogroup (Dijselbloem), European Central Bank (Draghi) and European Parliament (Schulz) published a 22 page document on ‘Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union’.

In this document the five presidents propose to further deepen the economic cooperation between the EU Member States and work towards a more complete single market. Apart from the timing – the document is published in the midst of the Greek-debt-crisis, the proposal contains very interesting material for private lawyers. The proposal contains a roadmap towards a ‘genuine fiscal union’ and is of course just a proposal.

However, under the heading ‘Towards Financial Union – Integrated Finance for an Integrated Economy’, the proposal goes into the issue of completing the banking union and the launching of the Capital Markets Union. Under the heading of the latter the proposal states:

‘A true Capital Markets Union also requires other improvements, some of which can only be achieved through legislation, such as: simplification of prospectus requirements; a revived EU market for high quality securitisation; greater harmonisation of accounting and auditing practices; as well as addressing the most important bottlenecks preventing the integration of capital markets in areas like insolvency law, company law, property rights and as regards the legal enforceability of cross-border claims.’

These improvements are so important, the report states, that

‘[t]o complete the Financial Union, we need to launch a common deposit insurance scheme and the Capital Markets Union. Given their urgency, these measures should all be implemented in Stage 1.’

Stage 1, the report informs us, is planned to be carried out between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2017. The digital single market initiative, therefore seems only one of potential more regulatory proposals that affect European Union private law.

This is especially exiting news for property lawyers, as for the first time contract law is no longer mentioned, but property law comes to the forefront. This does – of course – not mean that contract law is now excluded. After all, no property law can exist without contracts. We must therefore all look at this process with renewed interest as more information becomes available.

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The Young Property Lawyers’ Forum in photos (for now) – Oxford, 2014

 

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Thoughts on the Euro-Mortgage project in the 21st Century (Conference Buying and Owning Property in Europe – Trier 16 and 17 June 2014)

On Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 I participated in the ERA conference on Buying and Owning Property in Europe in Trier. I spoke there on the next steps to take and the possibility of reintroducing the idea of a Euro-Mortgage.

Since 1966, when the Segré Commission reported on the Development of a European Capital Market and introduced the idea of a pan-European right of hypothec, now known as Euro-Hypothec or Euro-Mortgage, especially the academic world has been intrigued by this idea. In a single market, it would be very helpful if EU citizens, who all have the right to establish themselves throughout that single market, would be able to make use of a common European immovable property security right to assist the financing of acquisition of property.

In reality, Eurostat statistics show, there is an increasing number of EU citizens that reside in another country (about 2,5% of EU citizens), and even more citizens that own immovable property in other Member States (no statistics are available on this at the EU level as some Member States do not gather this data). In fact, banks frequently finance the acquisition of land in other Member States. There are generally four scenario’s for such an acquisition:

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