Last week I received: Eberhard Braun (ed.), Commentary on the German Insolvency Code, Düsseldorf: IDW-Verlag 2006, 671 pp. (ISBN
[New edition of Wessels Subordinated Debts] Vorige week verscheen (bij Kluwer) de nieuwe druk van Achtergestelde vorderingen. De eerste druk verscheen in 1997. De publikatie verschijnt nu in de serie Monografieën Privaatrecht, waarin het is opgenomen als nr. 6. In tien jaar is de figuur van de achtergestelde (obligatie)lening niet principieel veranderd. Er wordt in rechte wel eens over gestreden. Het jurisprudentieregister bevat vanaf 1997 circa 25 uitspraken. Zie bijgaand document voor de inhoudsopgave.Inhoudsopgave Achtergestelde vorderingen.doc
[Dutch series of 10 Volumes Wessels Insolvency Law] De komende jaren heb ik me voorgenomen om de serie Insolventierecht (10 delen, verschenen tussen 1999-2003 als Polak-Wessels Insolventierecht) geheel te actualiseren. In de bijgevoegde brochure leest u meer daarover. Wessels Insolventierecht.pdf Deel X (International Insolvency Law) is onlangs verschenen. Zie deze weblog, 2006-11-doc3. Vorige week heb ik de kopij van de delen VI (Het akkoord) en VIII (Surseance van betaling) naar de bureauredactie van de uitgever gestuurd. Ik verwacht Deel III (pauliana, verrekening, zekerheidsrechten) eind van deze maand te kunnen afronden.
Re the 2017-12-20 CJEU C-649/16 Peter Valach & Ors v Waldviertel Sparkasse Bank AG & Ors case I posted directly a comment on a LinkedIn site. As I cannot find it anymore (sure, must be my own stupid error) I am reposting it on my blog.
On December 20, 2017, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) decided on the question how Article 1(2)(b) of the Brussels I Regulation (1215/2012) must be interpreted. Its meaning and width can be easily explained by refering to recital 7 of the European Insolvency Regulation (Recast; EIR 2915), which says: ‘Bankruptcy, proceedings relating to the winding-up of insolvent companies or other legal persons, judicial arrangements, compositions and analogous proceedings and actions related to such proceedings are excluded from the scope of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 … There should be no gap between these proceedings and the proceeding covered by the Insolvency Regulation. Recital 7 to the EIR 2015 continues: ‘… Those proceedings should be covered by this Regulation. In the case at hand it concerns
an action brought by the holders of shares in an insolvent company and by project companies in a business relationship with the insolvent company which is founded on a claim in tort for damages against members of a creditors’ committee in respect of voting impropriety regarding a restructuring plan in connection with insolvency proceedings concerns insolvency within the meaning of Article 1(2)(b) of Regulation No 1215/2012 and is for that reason excluded from the scope of that regulation. The refering court had been the Supreme Court of Austria (Oberster Gerichtshof).
The CJEU (First Chamber) acknowledges that Article 1(2)(b) of Brussels I must be interpreted as meaning that it applies to an action for liability in tort brought against the members of a committee of creditors because of their conduct in voting on a restructuring plan in insolvency proceedings, and that such an action is therefore excluded from the scope ratione materiae of that regulation.
The case is one in a string of cases concerning the relation between Burssels I and the EIR.
The CJEU, in this cases, stresses (i) the importance of continuity of interpretation of the former Brussels Convention and Regulation No 44/2001 and Regulation No 1215/2012 (that replaced these), (ii) that Regulation No 1215/2012 and the original Insolvency Regulation (1346/2000) must be interpreted in such a way as to avoid any overlap between the rules of law that those instruments lay down and any legal vacuum. This leads to two general principles (1) actions excluded under Article 1(2)(b) Brussels I (because they come under ‘bankruptcy, proceedings relating to the winding-up of insolvent companies or other legal persons, judicial arrangements, compositions and analogous proceedings’ fall within the scope of Insolvency Regulation 1346/2000, and (2) actions which fall outside the scope of Article 3(1) of Insolvency Regulation 1346/2000 fall within the scope of Brussels I. The CJEU refers to the judgment of 9 November 2017, Tünkers France and Tünkers Maschinenbau, C 641/16, EU:C:2017:847, paragraph 17). After having stitched up the two regulations, the CJEU confirm a third building block, one related to interpretation: the intention of the EU legislature was to adopt a broad definition of the concept of ‘civil and commercial matters’ in Article 1(1) Brussels I and, consequently, to provide that the article should be broad in its scope. On the contrary, the scope of the Insolvency Regulation (1346/2000) should not be given a broad interpretation (once again referring the Tünkers case, paragraph 18 and the case-law cited).
The CJEU strings bead after bead. In case law it has held that only actions which derive directly from insolvency proceedings and are closely connected with them are excluded from the scope of Brussels I and, consequently, those actions fall within the scope of the Insolvency Regulation 1346/2000 (once again referring to Tünkers, paragraph 19). The latter regulation is confined to provisions governing jurisdiction for opening insolvency proceedings and judgments which are ‘delivered directly on the basis of the insolvency proceedings and are closely connected with such proceedings’. Now, does an action for liability in tort, such as that in the main proceedings, satisfies that twofold criterion of ‘directly’and ‘closely connected’.
With regard to the first criterion, again Tünkers (para. 22) is decisive: in order to determine whether an action derives directly from insolvency proceedings, the decisive factor to identify the area within which an action falls ‘… is not the procedural context of the action but its legal basis. According to that approach, it must be determined whether the right or obligation which forms the basis of the action has its source in the ordinary rules of civil and commercial law or in derogating rules specific to insolvency proceedings’. In this case the action at issue in the main proceedings seeks to establish the liability of the members of the committee of creditors which, at a vote on 11 December 2015, rejected the restructuring plan proposed by one of the applicants (VAV invest). That rejection was the reason why the winding-up proceedings were opened. The applicants in the main proceedings consider that the committee acted unlawfully, the action for liability being brought on that basis. After having explains applicable Slovak law the CJEU considers that the action for liability was brought by holders of shares in the company which was the subject of the insolvency proceedings, and by companies in business relationships with that company. In addition, the action aims in particular to determine whether the members of the committee of creditors, when rejecting the restructuring plan, which rejection lead to the opening of the winding-up proceedings, infringed their duty to act in the joint interest of all the creditors. Where under Slovak law all members of the committee of creditors are required to act in the joint interest of all the creditors, in that the task of that committee, together with the meeting of creditors, is to assess and, if appropriate, to approve the restructuring plan which must be drawn up by the insolvent debtor, the action for liability at issue in the main proceedings is ‘thus’ the direct and inseparable consequence of the performance by the committee of creditors, a statutory body established when insolvency proceedings are opened, of the task specifically assigned to them by the provisions of national law governing such procedures (see, by analogy, judgment of 2 July 2009, SCT Industri, C 111/08, EU:C:2009:419, paragraph 28). The courts result on the first criterion: the obligations which form the basis of bringing an action for liability in tort against a committee of creditors originate in rules that are specific to insolvency proceedings.
With regard to the second criterion (‘closely connected’) decisive is ‘… the closeness of the link between a court action and the insolvency proceedings (again referring to Tünkers, paragraph 28). A central question here, so the CJEU, is the extent of the committee’s obligations in the insolvency proceedings and the compatibility of the rejection with its obligations. Such an analysis clearly presents a direct and close link with the insolvency proceedings, and is therefore closely connected with the course of those proceedings. In those circumstances, it must be considered that an action such as that at issue in the main proceedings derives directly from insolvency proceedings and is closely connected with them, so that it does not fall within the scope ratione materiae of Brussels I. In all, thus was decided.