Problems of enforcement of european law - Closing session
Arrangements for future meetings - Discussions as to the future structure of the forum
Mr. Justice Colman of the English Commercial Court thanked the Forum for a stimulating Conference. There had been an outstanding turnout, with Cyprus the only country not represented. The Judge from Luxembourg also had to cancel his travelling plans at the last minute. There was now a need to discuss the next step. The decision taken was that the Third Conference would take place in January or February 2006. There were problems with fixing the venue for that Conference, and those were related to funding. The total cost of the Conference could be expected to be in the region of €12,000 – 14,000, on the basis that the host country would not pay hotels or transportation. The two most urgent questions were accordingly (i) to identify which country would be hosting the next Conference ; and (ii) whether the Forum should seek EU funding (as it had done successfully for the First Conference and unsuccessfully for the Second Conference). As for (i), the likely total costs had now been ascertained by reference to the costs of the Paris Conference. As for (ii), this was a complex issue but the committee had finally decided to do without EU funding essentially because of the amount of preparatory work involved and because of the need to identify a detailed programme too far in advance.
There was also another feature to discuss : membership of the management committee. At present, there were four committee members i.e. Mr Justice Colman (England), Judge Hascher (France), Judge Rordorf (Italy) and Judge Mayen (Germany), and two consultants Prof. Fletcher of University College London and Prof. Roth from Bonn. The latter were co-opted because cooperation with universities had been a prerequisite of EU funding ; now that the decision had been taken not to solicit EU funding, there was an issue as to whether they should remain on the management committee. It was also thought desirable to have a fifth committee member, if the next host State was not presently represented on the Committee.
The committee was now inviting candidates to host the next Conference. This was on the basis not of intention, but of certainty. Member States would have up to Christmas to come forward, and the first country to come forward would be the organising country.
There were two final issues : (i) whether, now that the decision had been taken to do without EU funding, judges from Switzerland, Norway and Iceland should be invited ; and (ii) the subject matter of the next meeting but one. The subject matter of the next meeting would be “the liability of those controlling companies”, and this would be split between “trading while insolvent”, “conflicts of interest”, “liability to third parties for trading in excess of authority”, “group liability”, “liability of auditors” and “delegation of powers”. Also, one should consider whether to change the format to include case-studies, but if they were to be done more time would have to be set aside for each separate topic and the number of distinct topics would therefore have to be reduced.
Mr Justice Filletti of Malta questioned whether one should really give up on EU funding, given that the next Conference was some 18 months, and that the topics were already agreed. Further, it would be easier for some delegates to obtain funding of their attendance at a meeting if it were designated an EU Forum.
Judge Neleman, Vice President of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands and Lord Justice Mance of the English Court of Appeal both expressed their support for the incorporation of case studies in the Conferences’ format. Lord Justice Mance also raised the possibility of funding from the Grotius institute, and stated that he would speak to the law academy at Trier, as the director there might be interested ; he had some finances and would be interested in a project such as this.
Justice Michelenas of the Supreme Court of Lithuania proposed that the subject of the Fourth Conference should be “Unfair Clauses in Contract”. He also proposed that the Forum invite an ECJ judge in the future.
Mr. Justice Colman then thanked the organisers of the Paris Conference, and particularly Judge Hascher. Judge Hascher in turn thanked all participants, the CREDA and the CCI. Mr Aristide Lévi then closed the Conference.