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The Centre for Comparative Law in 2021
Highlights of the Year
The Centre for Comparative Law (CCL) at BIICL wishes you a joyful holiday season!
Despite the challenging effects of the global pandemic, the CCL carried on with the conducting of studies - including the publication of the European Commission Study on the Rome II Regulation - the organisation of events and training, and the close monitoring of the legal developments on cross border dispute resolution, collective redress and Brexit from a comparative perspective.
The current pandemic led the CCL to further reflect on the challenges brought by Covid-19 onto legal and commercial actors as well as the vulnerable. The “Breathing Space” series is a result of this collective reflection, and a set of guidelines encouraging a conciliatory approach to contractual disputes was published and translated into several languages. A new research project in cooperation with the University of Kyoto will continue our work in this area.
The CCL engaged in cooperation with universities around the world, launching the new series “Law & Change” with the Singapore Management University, and intensifying its close ties with the University of Lausanne through conferences and short courses.
The CCL is also delighted to have appointed two new Honorary Senior Fellows: Professor Andrew Dickinson and Professor Adrian Briggs to support the work of the Centre.
The CCL looks forward to another productive year in 2022, and has gathered here some of the highlights of 2021, as well as what to look forward to in 2022.
Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2022!

Prof Dr Eva Lein
Prof Dr Duncan Fairgrieve
Professor Dr Yarik Kryvoi
Constance Bonzé
Publication of the European Commission Study on the Rome II Regulation


The CCL is very pleased to announce that the Study on the Rome II Regulation (EC) 864/2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations has been published by the European Commission (4 October 2021).

BIICL (in consortium with Civic Consulting) was selected by the European Commission (DG Justice and Consumers) to conduct the Study supporting the preparation of a report on the application of the Rome II Regulation on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations.
BIICL's team was led by Prof. Eva Lein, Dr. Sara Migliorini and Constance Bonzé. More than 20 national reporters from across the EU and external highly regarded experts in the field contributed to the study and carried out intensive desk research on the use of the Regulation in their respective Member States.
The Study conducts a legal analysis and assessment of the practical experiences and problems of interpretation in the application of the Rome II Regulation for the period 2010-2020, in order to support the Commission in the future review of the Regulation. It analyses all areas covered by the Regulation and looks into specific, cutting-edge questions, such as the interaction between the Regulation and cross-border corporate violations of human rights, the potential impact of the development of artificial intelligence, and SLAPPs.

Dispute Resolution
The CCL follows closely the legal issues relating to two party and multiparty disputes in an international context, from a comparative perspective. The Centre regularly organises events and training to further the understanding of cross-border dispute resolution.
Taking Stock: International Commercial Courts in Europe and Asia (17 September 2021, in cooperation with Erasmus University Rotterdam and the University of Lausanne)
 
Professor Eva Lein and Professor Xandra Kramer (Erasmus University of Rotterdam), with the support of the Erasmus School of Law and the European Research Council, organised a conference on the developments of International Commercial Courts across Europe and in Asia.
The keynote speech was given by Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice in England and Wales.
The discussion, led by academics and practitioners from various jurisdictions, looked at the reasons behind the recent proliferation of these courts and their international features in terms of court language, judicial composition, parties and disputes; the perspectives of court users and judges on key features of these courts, their suitability for specific kinds of disputes and the handling of international commercial disputes in practice; the interface between International Commercial Courts and arbitration, in particular in jurisdictions with well-developed arbitration centres; and the ever more important question how these courts deal with global challenges such as Covid 19, Digitalisation & AI.

Product Liability Forum Event: Applying Product Liability rules to online platforms (11 May 2021)
This seminar examined this topical theme by reviewing the emerging US case law finding platforms / online marketplaces strictly liable in products cases (such as the Bolger v. Amazon, California Courts of Appeal), and comparing with ongoing discussions in a European context (such as the ELI Model Rules on Online Platforms).
Comparative Arbitration Workshop (26 October 2021)
Organised by Professor Yarik Kryvoi, the BIICL Comparative Arbitration Workshop brings together practitioners, academics and policy-makers to discuss international arbitration from a comparative perspective. The emerging approaches in international arbitration in the new world order were examined, and the panel also reflected upon the empirical findings of the recent report of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and Allen & Overy 'Costs, Damages and Duration in Investor-State Arbitration.' This study is co-authored by Professor Yarik Kryvoi, Director of the Investment Treaty Forum of BIICL, with Matthew Hodgson and Daniel Hrčka of Allen & Overy.
Short Course: Cross Border Dispute Resolution (11 and 12 November 2021) (in cooperation with the University of Lausanne
Organised by Professor Eva Lein, this two-day programme is focused on current developments and strategies in cross-border dispute resolution. International dispute resolution is a part of the practice of almost every commercial lawyer and knowledge in this area is essential. The course is designed to give a concise introduction to key issues across a broad range of areas including technology and disputes, arbitration, tort litigation, climate litigation and collective redress
COVID-19 Response
Breathing Space initiative – publication of the BIICL guidelines in seven languages (4 May 2021)
The “Breathing Space” series considers how the legal and business communities might respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to foster economic recovery. Concept Note 2 shows in detail which steps should be taken to minimise the risk of a deluge of disputes and to increase the prospect of constructive outcomes.
Concept Note 3 is a continuation of BIICL's "Breathing Space" series, which considers how the legal and business communities might respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to foster economic recovery. The Concept Note 3 proposes a set of practical guidelines which might be adopted to encourage a more conciliatory approach to contractual disputes that may arise, and which seek to avoid and/or minimise protracted legal disputes, without prejudicing or altering parties' legal rights. The 'Guidelines' set out how corporates and particularly those who are conscious of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) requirements and their reputations can manage legal disputes responsibly. The BIICL guidelines are deliberately framed so that they can be used in all jurisdictions and legal systems. To this end, they have been translated into several languages.

Covid-19 Vaccine Injury Compensation Schemes: Comparative Perspectives (6 July 2021)
This event organised by Duncan Fairgrieve examined critically the provision made for the small numbers of those who have suffered adverse reactions after administration of one of the Covid-19 vaccines. The focus of this event was on the compensation schemes established at a national and international level (including the COVAX / GAVI scheme) to provide compensation and support for those affected. Experts from around the globe discussed this important and topical issue in a workshop format.
Collective Redress
The CCL has been consistently conducting studies and organising events in the area of collective redress. This includes comprehensive research on the current developments regarding collective redress mechanisms in the EU Member States.
The Representative Actions Directive - a class action for Europe?
(3 February 2021)
Organised by Prof Duncan Fairgrieve, this webinar examined the recently-adopted EU Representative Actions Directive and considered its impact on cross-border and domestic collective redress actions across Europe. A roster of leading commentators reviewed the features of this new instrument and addressed how it is likely to affect the litigation landscape across Europe in respect of group claims. Although the Directive is not applicable to the UK, the future of collective redress in the UK was also considered by the speakers.
Class action certification: The implications of the Supreme Court's Merricks Judgment (19 May 2021)
The panel focused on the recent developments in relation to class actions in the UK, and discussed recent high profile litigations to take stock of how such cases can evolve in the future. This included a debate on the critical stage of class action certification, the role of economic analysis and the relevance of the Merricks case and other actions for the future of private enforcement.
Damages Claims for Mass Data Breaches: UK and European Perspectives (8 June 2021)
In light of the recent hearing before the UK Supreme Court in the case of Lloyd v Google, this event looked across the Channel in order to assess the developing European case law on data breaches. Experts considered a range of issues including the evolving substantive law, procedural difficulties and funding considerations, cross-border questions and approaches to the assessment of harm for breaches of data protection as well as the quantification of damages.
F A Mann Project
BIICL’s Comparative Law Centre is working with the Humboldt University Berlin on a project on the renowned lawyer Frederick Alexander ("Francis") Mann (1907-1991). Led by Prof Dr Gerhard Dannemann and Dr Jason Grant Allen, the project uses the extensive corpus of his documents, bequeathed to the Humboldt University, to explore how Mann influenced the development of English, German, European, and international law right up to the present day. A deeper engagement with the life and work of this "frontier jurist", who crossed borders between legal disciplines as well as jurisdictions, promises important impulses for current legal research, particularly in the law of money, conflict of laws, international law, arbitration law, and studies of the transnationalisation of law.
FA Mann Workshop (19 November 2021):
The workshop showcased the work to-date on the project which will be continued into 2022.
Cooperation with Singapore Management University
Law and Change webinar series (in cooperation with the Singapore Management University)
BIICL’s Comparative Law Centre is collaborating with the Centre for AI and Data Governance (CAIDG) of the Singapore Management University on a series of webinars on 'Law and Change'. The ‘Law and Change’ series is designed to discuss how global crises are changing law and how law and legal services can assist in the orderly management of global change. The series is a vibrant opportunity for both institutions to stimulate debate about the nature and direction of change from within two important global perspectives.
The first seminar, “Law and Change in a Pandemic World” (21 April 2021), looked at how the pandemic evidenced change in law, but also how the law in times of crisis changes rights and regulatory formats in a broader sense. The seminar provided a pan Asian view but also looked at the different questions from a UK and European perspective. 
The second event, “Law and Change: Social Media” (22 October 2021) looked at the topic of social media, with a particular interest in issues like safe digital space and the protection of personal data integrity. Academics and practitioners from Europe, the US and Asia discussed the regulation of personal data access, the impact of COVID, and the whistle-blower revelations concerning Facebook.
UK Swiss Relations
The CCL looks closely at the relations between the UK and Switzerland outside EU membership, as well as their respective relations with the EU. These have evolved considerably in the wake of Brexit. Legal and political stakeholders in both the United Kingdom and Switzerland have much to learn from each other’s past, present, and hypothetical future experiences of EU relations.
Relying on the expertise in EU-Swiss relations at the University of Lausanne, the expertise in EU-UK relations at the British Institute of International Comparative Law/Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, and the training in comparative legal methods from partners at both institutions, the CCL analyses the legal mechanisms of these parallel yet inversed tracks of (dis)integration outside of EU membership.

Event on Swiss-UK Bilateral Relations outside EU Membership (29 April 2021)
This event considered the new dynamics in the legal relations between Switzerland and the UK after Brexit. The keynote speech was given by His Excellency Mr Alexandre Fasel, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Kingdom. Speakers from the Swiss and UK diplomatic and legal communities provided further information about the new relationship between both countries, discussing the Mind the Gap and Mind the Gap+ strategies as well as future cooperation in other areas such as financial services, migration and innovation.
The year ahead: what to look forward to in the CCL in 2022
Addressing COVID-19 challenges: BIICL’s Comparative Law Centre will cooperate with Kyoto University on a research project that aims to investigate the new legal issues arising from the pandemic with a focus on the protection of vulnerable groups.
COVID-19 has triggered an unprecedented global health and economic crisis, leaving certain groups of people particularly vulnerable, such as small businesses and consumers, women and children, supply chain workers in developing economies, migrants and refugees. The study aims to focus on the protection of those who are at a higher risk of being negatively impacted by the pandemic. To that end, the study will assess the existing legal mechanisms in European and Asian legal systems, and will identify how to effectively maximise safety and access to justice for the most vulnerable.
Law and Change webinar series: The next event in this series is expected to take place in March 2022 and will discuss the legal challenges of Smart Cities.
Projects and events in 2022 will also include: a conference presenting the European Commission Study on the Rome II Regulation, an event on English jurisdiction rules and a project on UK-Swiss-EU relations.
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