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WHY DO DUTCH AND UK JUDGES CITE FOREIGN LAW?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 June 2011

Elaine Mak
Affiliation:
Associate Professor of Jurisprudence at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Law. Contact: mak@law.eur.nl.
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Copyright © Cambridge Law Journal and Contributors 2011

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References

1 From a legal perspective, ‘globalisation’ can be defined as the trend toward world domination of specific regimes; see H.P. Glenn, Legal Traditions of the World (Oxford 2007), p. 49. The emergence of transnational connections between courts has been referred to under many different names. In S. Muller & S. Richards (eds.), Highest Courts and Globalisation (The Hague 2010), the term ‘judicial internationalisation’ is used to capture the increased exchange of legal ideas and experiences between judges in different legal systems, a trend also referred to as ‘transjudicialism, judicial dialogue, judicial cosmopolitanism, judicial globalisation, the migration of legal ideas, legal transplants’; see p. 4 of the Introduction by the editors.

2 In this article, ‘foreign law’ will be used as a general term to refer to legal sources which were elaborated outside of a specific national legal system. In this sense, this qualification also applies to sources which have acquired the status of national law but originate at the international or supranational level, such as international treaty provisions implemented in a specific national legal system and EU law provisions in the EU member states.

3 See for example G. Canivet, ‘Trans-Judicial Dialogue in a Global World’, in Muller & Richards, op.cit. note 1 above, pp. 21–40.

4 D.B. Goldman, Globalisation and the Western Legal Tradition: recurring patterns of law and authority (Cambridge 2007), in particular chapters 9 and 10.

5 B. Markesinis & J. Fedtke, Judicial Recourse to Foreign Law (Abingdon 2006), pp. 7–46.

6 See inter alia Markesinis & Fedtke, op.cit. note 5 above; M. Andenas & D. Fairgrieve (eds.), Tom Bingham and the Transformation of the Law: a Liber Amicorum (Oxford 2009).

7 It is assumed that global influences will most likely be found at this level of judicial decision-making. See Muller & Richards, op.cit. note 1 above.

8 Flanagan, B. & Ahern, S., ‘Judicial Decision-Making and Transnational Law: A Survey of Common Law Supreme Court Judges’ (2011) 60 I.C.L.Q. 1CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

9 Ibid., p. 24.

10 See later in this paragraph.

13 T. Koopmans, Courts and Political Institutions: A Comparative View (Cambridge 2003).

14 See further below, part II.

15 Concerning the function of the Advocate-General, see below, part. II.

16 M. Gelter & M. Siems, ‘Networks, Dialogue or One-Way Traffic? An Empirical Analysis of Cross-Citations between Ten European Supreme Courts’, available at <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1722721>.

18 ‘UK Supreme Court judges sworn in’, BBC News, 1 October 2009, available at <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8283939.stm>.

20 Much has been written about this reform and its impact on the UK legal system. See inter alia T. Hickman, Public Law after the Human Rights Act (Oxford 2010); A. Kavanagh, Constitutional Review under the UK Human Rights Act (Cambridge 2009).

21 B. Hale, ‘A Supreme Judicial Leader’, in: Andenas & Fairgrieve, note 6 above, pp. 209–220.

22 See inter alia Bingham, Lord, ‘The Rule of Law’ [2007] C.L.J. 67CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Lord Phillips, ‘The Rule of Law in a Global Context’, The Qatar Law Forum, 30 May 2009, available at <http://qatarlawforum.com/en/system/files/Lord_Phillips_address_at_Qatar_Law_Forum.pdf>; Lord Phillips, ‘The Supreme Court and Other Constitutional Changes in the UK’, Address to Members of the Royal Court, the Jersey Law Society, and Members of the States of Jersey, 2 May 2008.

23 See recently J. Vranken, ‘Taken van de Hoge Raad en zijn parket in 2025’, in: A.M. Hol, I. Giesen & F.G.H. Kristen (eds.), De Hoge Raad in 2025 (The Hague 2011), pp. 33–50.

24 Hammerstein Committee, Improving Cassation Procedure, Report of the Hammerstein Committee on the Normative Role of the Supreme Court (The Hague, February 2008), available at <http://www.rechtspraak.nl/Organisatie/Hoge-Raad/OverDeHogeRaad/Publicaties/Pages/default.aspx>.

25 G.J.M. Corstens, ‘Vertrouwen in de rechtspraak’, keynote speech for the yearly conference of the Dutch Association of Magistrates (Nederlandse Vereniging voor Rechtspraak) ‘Magistraat 2.0 – de update’, The Hague, 9 October 2009; G.J.M. Corstens, ‘De derde macht’, speech for the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy (Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid), 16 April 2009. Both speeches are available at <http://www.rechtspraak.nl/Organisatie/Hoge-Raad/OverDeHogeRaad/Publicaties/Pages/default.aspx>.

26 F. Amtenbrink & H.H.B. Vedder, Recht van de Europese Unie (The Hague 2008); cf. M. Claes, The National Courts' Mandate in the European Constitution (Oxford 2005).

27 Kirby, M., ‘The common law and international law – a dynamic contemporary dialogue’ (2010) 30 Legal Studies 31CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

28 F. Jacobs, ‘European Law and the English Judge’, in: Andenas & Fairgrieve, note 6 above, pp. 419–437.

29 Lord Mance, ‘The Common Law and Europe: Differences of Style or Substance and Do They Matter?’, Holdsworth Club Presidential Address, Birmingham, 24 November 2006, available at <http://www.law.bham.ac.uk/documents/Mance-Holdsworth-Address.pdf>.

30 Lord Phillips, ‘Terrorism & Human Rights’, University of Hertfordshire Law Lecture, 19 October 2006, available at <http://www.judiciary.gov.uk>.

31 Mance, Lord, ‘Foreign and Comparative Law in the Courts’ (2001) 36 Texas International Law Journal 415Google Scholar; Rodger, Lord, ‘Developing the Law Today: National and International Influences’ (2002) 1 Journal of South African Law 1Google Scholar.

32 E. de Wet, ‘The Reception Process in the Netherlands and Belgium’, in: H. Keller & A. Stone Sweet (eds.), A Europe of Rights: The Impact of the ECHR on National Legal Systems (Oxford 2008), pp. 229–309. Section 93 of the Constitution states that ‘(p)rovisions of treaties and of resolutions by international institutions which may be binding on all persons by virtue of their contents shall become binding after they have been published’. On the basis of section 94 of the Constitution, ‘(s)tatutory regulations in force within the Kingdom shall not be applicable if such application is in conflict with provisions of treaties that are binding on all persons or of resolutions by international institutions’. The official translation of the Constitution is available at <http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten-en-publicaties/publicaties-pb51/the-constitution-of-the-kingdom-of-the-netherlands-2008.html>.

33 Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid (WRR), De toekomst van de nationale rechtsstaat [The Future of the National Constitutional State] (The Hague 2002), pp. 81–82.

34 G.J.M. Corstens, speech at the occasion of the opening of the judicial year of the ECtHR, seminar ‘The Convention is yours/La Convention vous appartient’, 29 January 2010, available at <http://www.rechtspraak.nl/Organisatie/Hoge-Raad/OverDeHogeRaad/Publicaties/Pages/default.aspx>.

35 The judges of the Supreme Court also sit on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC), which is the final court for cases from Commonwealth jurisdictions; <http://www.jcf.c.gov.uk/about/role-of-the-jcf.c.htm>. Some of the former and current judges of the Supreme Court furthermore are Non-Permanent Judges of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong; <http://www.judiciary.gov.hk/en/organization/judges.htm>.

37 See above, part II.A.

38 Judicial and Court Statistics 2009, available at <http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/judicialandcourtstatistics.htm>.

39 Judicial and Court Statistics 2009, available at <http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/judicialandcourtstatistics.htm>.

40 Section 79 of the Judicial Organisation Act (Wet op de rechterlijke organisatie).

41 Section 78 of the Judicial Organisation Act.

42 Section 120 of the Dutch Constitution.

43 For a recent overview, see the Supreme Court Annual Report and Accounts 2009–2010, available at <http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/docs/ar_2009_10.pdf>, pp. 24–25.

44 ‘Cijfers en tabellen 2006 tot en met 2009’, available at <http://www.rechtspraak.nl/Organisatie/Hoge-Raad/OverDeHogeRaad/Publicaties/Pages/default/aspx>.

45 The introduction of a general mechanism of case selection is part of the proposal of the Hammerstein Committee, note 24 above. A bill based on the recommendations of this committee has been submitted to Parliament; Kamerstukken II 2010/11, 32 576.

46 One of the interviewed Advocates-General suggested that this exception relates to the absence of mandatory legal representation in tax law cases.

47 Section 81 of the Judicial Organisation Act.

48 Rules of The Supreme Court 2009, available at <http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/docs/uksc_rules_2009.pdf>.

50 [2001] 1 W.L.R. 1001 (Sup. Ct.).

51 See for example In Re Sigma Finance Corporation (in administrative receivership) and In Re The Insolvency Act 1986 (Conjoined Appeals) [2009] UKSC 2.

52 A detailed description is given by the Hammerstein Committee, note 24 above, pp. 20 ff.

53 Mitchel Lasser has shown how significant this kind of ‘hidden’ dialogue is for the judicial deliberations. See M. de S.O.l'E. Lasser, Judicial Deliberations: A Comparative Analysis of Judicial Transparency and Legitimacy (Oxford 2004).

54 Hammerstein Committee, note 24 above, pp. 20–21 and 27.

55 See for example HR 18 March 2005, NJ 2006, 606, Baby Kelly.

56 Law Commission, Remedies against Public Bodies. A Scoping Report (2006), available at <http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/remedies.htm>.

57 Lord Woolf, ‘Opening of the judicial year European Court of Human Rights: Strasbourg’, 2003, available at <http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/media/speeches/2003/opening-judicial-year-european-courts-human-rights-strasbourg>.

58 See R (Ullah) v. Special Adjudicator [2004] UKHL 26, at [5].

59 Section 4 (2) HRA 1998.

61 See above part. II.A.

62 De Wet, note 32 above.

63 Ibid.

64 ECtHR, 20 November 1989, appl. No. 166, Kostovski v. the Netherlands.

65 ECtHR, 27 November 2008, appl. no. 36391/02, Salduz v. Turkey.

66 HR 30 June 2009, NJ 2009, 349, LJN BH3079; HR 30 June 2009, NJ 2009, 350, LJN BH3081; HR 30 June 2009, NJ 2009, 351, LJN BH3084.

67 ECJ 19 June 1990, case C-213/89, R. v. Secretary of State for Transport, ex parte Factortame Ltd.. and Others [1990] ECR I-2433.

68 R. v. Secretary of State for Transport, ex parte Factortame Ltd. and Others [1991] 1 A.C. 603.

69 See the Supreme Court's Annual Report 2007–2008, available at <http://www.rechtspraak.nl/Organisatie/Hoge-Raad/OverDeHogeRaad/Publicaties/Pages/default.aspx>, pp. 104–105.

70 ECJ (2009), Annual Report 2008, p. 103–105, available at <http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/Jo2_7000>.

71 T. Bingham, The Rule of Law (London 2010), p. 47.

72 ECJ 6 October 1982, case 283/81, CILFIT [1982] ECR 3415.

73 HR 5 December 2008, LJN BB0678.

74 ECJ 18 March 2010, case 3/09, Erotic Center BVBA v. Belgium.

75 In cases falling within the scope of the Brussels I Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) 44/2001), these questions will be dealt with under EU law.

78 Fairchild v. Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd. [2002] UKHL 22, [2003] 1 A.C. 32.

79 Reynolds v. Times Newspapers Limited and Others [2001] 2 A.C. 127.

80 New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964) 376 U.S. 254.

81 [2001] 2 A.C. at 199 (Lord Nicholls) and 209 (Lord Steyn).

82 [2001] 2 A.C. 127, 198.

83 R (E) v. Governing Body of JFS [2009] UKSC 15.

84 Ibid. per Lord Phillips, at [5].

85 Ibid, per Lord Hope, at [159], where reference is made to No'ar K'halacha v. The Ministry of Education, HCJ 1067/08, 6 August 2009.

86 Her Majesty's Treasury v. Mohammed Jabar Ahmed and others (FC) [2010] UKSC 2, Lord Hope, with whom Lord Walker and Lady Hale agree, at [50]. See also the opinion of Lord Phillips, at [120]–[122], in which two New Zealand cases put forward by counsel for the defendant are analysed.

87 Joined Cases C-402/05P and C-415/05P, Kadi v. Council of the European Union, [2009] A.C. 1225.

88 Her Majesty's Treasury v. Mohammed Jabar Ahmed and others (FC) [2010] UKSC 2, per Lord Hope, at [71].

89 Most noteworthy among these judgments were OBG Ltd. v. Allan [2007] UKHL 21, [2008] A.C. 1 concerning actions for economic loss in English law (four Australian judgments cited), and Sempra Metals Ltd. v. IRC [2007] UKHL 34, [2008] 1 A.C. 561 concerning the calculation of interest in a case regarding restitution for unjust enrichment (five Australian judgments cited).

90 Her Majesty's Treasury v. Mohammed Jabar Ahmed and others (FC) [2010] UKSC 1, [2010] 2 WLR 325, at [53].

91 Ibid at [54]–[57]. The judgment also contains a careful analysis of relevant ECtHR case law concerning Articles 8 and 10 of the ECHR; see ibid. at [22]–[52].

92 HR 20 November 2009, LJN BJ6999. Advocate-General Verkade, at [4.6], discusses BGH 2 december 2004, I ZR 30/02, GRUR 2005/4, p. 349.

93 See for example HR 12 October 2010, LJN BN0526, opinion of Advocate-General Jörg, at [90], citing German, French, Swiss and US legal sources which define the scope of the right of non-disclosure.

94 See for example HR 4 January 2011, LJN BO4475, opinion of Advocate-General Silvis, at [10], citing German doctrine and the case law of the Bundesgerichtshof as sources which confirm the case law of the Dutch Supreme Court.

95 Supreme Court of the Netherlands, note 69 above, pp. 50–59.

96 Ibid., pp. 55–56.

98 See supra, part III.C.

99 <http://www.rechtspraak.nl>, search term ‘Principles of European Contract Law’.

100 HR 13 November 2009, LJN BJ8724, opinion of Advocate-General Huydecoper, at [20].

101 HR 13 November 2009, LJN BJ8724, opinion of Advocate-General Huydecoper, note 18 (my translation).

102 See supra, part. II.B.1.

103 <http://www.bailii.org>, search term ‘Principles of European Contract Law’.

104 93/13/EEC, which was interpreted in Director General of Fair Trading v. First National Bank [2001] UKHL 52, [2001] 2 All ER (Comm) 1000, at [36–37] and [45].

105 Chartbrook Ltd. v. Persimmon Homes Ltd. and Others [2009] UKHL 38, [2009] 4 All ER 677, at [39].

106 Preambles of the EC Treaty and the EU Treaty, available at <http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/treaties/index.htm#founding>.

107 Transcripts of the Confirmation hearing of Judge John G. Roberts, Day 2, 13 September 2005, reply to questions posed by Senator Jon Kyl, available at <http://www.asksam.com/ebooks/releases.asp?file=JGRHearing.ask&dn=Day%202%20-%20Kyl%20-%20Foreign%20Law>.

108 HR 25 March 2003, NJ 2003, 552, HIV-I; HR 24 June 2003, NJ 2003, 555, HIV-II; HR 18 January 2005, NJ 2005, 154, HIV-III; HR 20 February 2007, NJ 2007, 313, HIV-IV.

109 See inter alia HR 15 October 1996, NJ 1997, 199, Porsche. Recently, the Court specified its case law in the case of a man who was convicted for the alleged attempt to kill his ex-wife by driving his car into a canal, but who was acquitted for the same offence concerning his daughter whom he himself brought to the shore. HR 29 September 2009, LJN BI4736, see in particular the conclusion of Advocate-General Vellinga, at [12].

110 See for example HR 20 February 2007, NJ 2007, 313, HIV-IV, conclusion of Advocate-General Bleichrodt, at [3.7.7], in which German and Swiss law are analysed.

111 Touffait, A. and Tunc, A., ‘Pour une motivation plus explicite des décisions de justice notamment de celles de la Cour de cassation’ (1974) 72 Revue trimestrielle de droit civil 491Google Scholar.

112 In practice, judgments of the Supreme Court itself regularly feature as ‘informal precedent’ in later decisions of the Court.

113 Concerning the functioning of such a bifurcated system, see Lasser, note 53 above.

114 HR 18 March 2005, NJ 2006, 606, Baby Kelly.

115 Section 28 par. 4 of the Law of 13 March 1973 concerning the compensation for unnecessary detention on suspicion (Wet van 13 maart 1973 betreffende de vergoeding voor onwerkzame voorlopige hechtenis).

116 On the use of Roman law by the Law Lords, see Lee, J., ‘Confusio: Reference to Roman Law in the House of Lords and the Development of English Private Law’ (2009) 5 Roman Legal Tradition (2009), 24Google Scholar.

117 See above, part. II.A.

118 See Canivet, above note 3.

119 E. Mak, ‘Justice at a New Scale: Introducing a Conceptual Framework for the Analysis of Highest Courts’ Role in a Globalised Context', in Muller & Richards (eds.), above note 1, pp. 115–127.

120 P. Avril, Les conventions de la Constitution (Paris 1997), p. 12.

121 See for example R. Posner, How Judges Think (Cambridge, Mass. 2008). See also A. Sen, The Idea of Justice (London 2009), in particular pp. 405–407.

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