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2019-10-doc3 - Iets bijdragen aan serie Wessels Insolventierecht?

Met deze oproep om bij te dragen aan de serie Wessels Insolventierecht, 5e druk, pakt ik de draad weer op. De laatste keer had de oproep voor reacties betrekking op Wessels Insolventierecht III (http://www.bobwessels.nl/blog/2019-02-doc7-bijdragen-aan-mijn-serie-insolventierecht/). Het boek is in de zomer van 2019 verschenen (http://www.bobwessels.nl/blog/2019-06-doc3-nieuwe-druk-wessels-insolventierecht-iii-5e-druk-2019/), met input onder meer van een ervaren curator en een Vleemse PhD-researcher. Deze maand is de ontwerp-tekst van Deel IV aan de beurt. Met de bewerking en actualisering van alle tien delen in de serie hoop ik, deo volente, in 2022 gereed te zijn. Als achtergrond: 20 jaar na de start van de eerste druk van de gehele serie was het tijd om enkele bescheiden wijzigingen door te voeren. Ik noem kort: versterking van het insolventierecht met accenturing van haar privaatrechtelijke inbedding, verscherping van de procesrechtelijke signatuur van het insolventieprocesrecht en, naast uiteraard de behandeling van het positieve insolventierecht, ook aandacht voor nagenoeg vaststaande komende Nederlandse wetgeving en Europese ontwikkelingen. Ook nieuw is de instelling van een hoofdredactie (waarin mr dr B. Engberts, raadsheer Hof Arnhem-Leeuwarden en voormalig voorzitter recofa, en prof. mr. T.T. van Zanten, cassatie-advocaat Wijn & Stael Utrecht en hoogleraar Overeenkomst en zekerheid RU Groningen).
Zin om iets bij te dragen? In de 4e druk van Deel X in de serie (Wessels International Insolvency Law Part II), welk deel in het najaar van 2017 verscheen, heb ik een nieuw element aan mijn schrijfproces toegevoegd door te communiceren met personen die actief zijn op het gebied van Europese herstructurering en insolventie. Via mijn blog (www.bobwessels.nl) en via LinkedIn heb ik conceptteksten van Part II gepubliceerd met de uitnodiging aan degenen die geïnteresseerd zijn op het desbetreffende onderwerp betrekking hebbende literatuur, uitspraken of praktijkervaringen te sturen of commentaar te leveren op deze teksten. In het voorjaar van 2017 heb ik in een periode van vier maanden acht keer een uitnodiging gepost. Een incentive om op deze wijze bij te dragen aan het ‘live’-debat over mijn ontwerp-teksten is de zekerheid dat (i) substantiële bijdragen worden erkend door de namen van de betrokken auteurs te vermelden en dat (ii) in geselecteerde gevallen de gemailde reacties kunnen worden aangehaald in de tekst, samen met de erkenning van de auteur. De toen uit ongeveer dertig landen ontvangen reacties, beschrijvingen van praktijkgevallen, literatuurbronnen en zelfs de ontwerptekst van een proefschrift waren de rijke vrucht van het toen geïntroduceerde ‘deliberate public participatory drafting process’ dat mij goed bevallen is. Zie http://www.bobwessels.nl/blog/2017-08-doc5-4th-edition-intl-insolvency-law-part-ii-ready-for-launch/. Om deze reden is in overleg met uitgever Wolters Kluwer besloten dit voor de 5e druk van de serie ook toe te passen. Voor de tot heden verschenen delen Wessels Insolventierecht I, II en III heb ik diverse bijdragen en commentaren ontvangen. Soms wordt miniteus een ontwerp-tekst van commentaar voorzien, vaak ook een praktijkgeval nader uiteengezet of een andere zienswijze gepresenteerd. De inhoud van de reacties op een oproep leveren op punten aanvullingen of verbeteringen van mijn tekst op; natuurlijk zijn enkele personen, die essentiële inbreng hebben gehad, in het Woord Vooraf voor hun bijdragen bedankt. Belangstelling? Vanaf heden tot eind oktober 2019 rond ik de tekst voor de 5e druk van Deel IV af. Graag reactie binnen een week na plaatsing. Onderwerpen in Deel IV ('Bestuur en beheer na faillietverklaring') zijn, kortweg: rol rechter-commissaris, horen van getuigen en deskundigen, beschikkingen van de r-c en de rechtsmiddelen ertegen, positie en aansprakelijkheid curator, diens rol bij fraudesignalering, rol schuldeiserscommissie, gijzeling, binnentreden in een woning, inlichtingen- en medewerkingsplichten jegens curator en rechter, en het civielrechtelijk bestuursverbod. Hou mijn blog in de gaten en reageer via: info@bobwessels.nl. Alvast dank!

2019-10-doc2 R.I.P. Rembrandt - 4 October 1669

All aspects of the life and work of Rembrandt (1606-1669) have been celebrated this year. At least twenty exhibitions have been organised in the Netherlands as well as in many other museums and galleries in the world. It was a golden year for new books and TV programmes, such as ‘Looking for Rembrandt’ (BBC 4, April 2019; http://www.bobwessels.nl/blog/2019-03-doc13-looking-for-rembrandt/) and September/October 2019 on Dutch TV ‘Rembrandt, the mystery’ (Het raadsel Rembrandt), presented by Onno Blom, the 2019 biographer of the Dutch book ‘The young Rembrandt’, focusing on the first 25 years of Rembrandt’s life, in the city Leiden.
With all these exuberant festivities and oohs and ahhs, one tends to forget that the year 2019 marks Rembrandt’s death, 350 years ago. After his cessio bonorum (‘bankruptcy’) in 1656, and compulsory sales of his house (now 'Museum Het Rembrandthuis') in 1658, Rembrandt (and his family) moved to Rozengracht 184 in Amsterdam. He dies some 11 years later.
He is burried in the Westerkerk, a few minutes away from where he last resided.
In the Register of Deaths of the church it is recorded: ‘On 4 October 1669 [my] cousin, Rembrant van Rhijn, painter died (‘den 4 8b[er] is overleeden neeff Rembrant van Rhijn schilder’). The date of his passing away is given in a note by a relative of Rembrandt, Nicolaes Sebastiaensz Vinck. He is an apothecary residing in de Sonnebloem (‘The Sunflower’) in Amsterdam. Vinck was a distant relative of Rembrandt on his mother’s side.
Rembrandt’s funeral took place four days later, on 8 October 1669. The Chamber of Orphans’ Register of Death provides ‘Rembrant van Reyn painter Rose gracht 8 October - - -2 [children]’ (‘Rembrant van Reyn schilder Rose gracht 8 8ber - - -2 [kinderen]’). These two children were Cornelia, his unlawful daughter with Hendrickje Stoffels, and his grandchild Titia, the daughter of his deceased son, Titus and his wife Magdalena van Loo.
The cause of Rembrandt’s death, 63 years at the time, is unknown.
Presently, Rozengracht 184 is an an inconspicuous building. Above the middle window of the first floor a simple, almost square facing brick with a round cartouche in 17th century form is attached to the wall. In six separate lines it is said: Here / was / Rembrandt’s / last / house †4:10•1669 (‘Hier / stond / Rembrandt’s /laatste / woning / †4:10•1669’). The date of installation of this memorial stone, however, is unknown. Van Eeghen (Van Eeghen, 1969e), describing the house, its owner and its tenants, does not mention its existence. From her description, however, it is known that in 1909 the façade of the house was modernized and took its current form with the balcony on the first floor. Boas (Boas (1939), 3), is likely the first to have made an (incomplete) reference to the memorial stone and its text. The most probable date for placing the cartouche seems to be 1919, the year in which it was 250 years ago that Rembrandt died at the current address. Since 2013, the ground floor of the house is the location of a tattoo shop.
In the Westerkerk where Rembrandt was burried, the exact location of his grave is not known; it is not indicated in the records of burial plots, and not specified in the Register of Deaths. Bredius (Bredius (1921), 585), with a sense of drama, notes that only a few stood by Rembrandt’s deathbed: ‘The question is whether even his daughter-in-law was present. A widow, Rebecca Willems, who nursed him, and his daughter [Cornelia] were perhaps the only ones who surrounded him. On 5 [!] October he blew out his last breath, and on 8 October he was brought to earth in the Westerkerk with subtle simplicity’.
In the same church, Titus was burried a year earlier.
Already a day after Rembrandt's passing away, on 5 October 1669, a notary calls at the home of the deceased Rembrandt on the Rozengracht 184 and draws up an inventory of the estate. His inventory is found in several spaces in the house. It is to be found in the parlor, the entrance hall, the inner chamber, the rear kitchen and the small back room (maybe even a little ‘achterhuis’?). The inventory covers fifty entries and includes twentysix unfinished paintings. Gerrit Steeman, the notary in charge, also adds to the inventory the following declaration: ‘The remaining property, including paintings, drawings, curios, antiques and other objects (‘… de vordere goederen soo van schilderijen, teyckenen, rariteyten, antiquiteyten en anders’) have been placed in three separate rooms, the doors of which were locked by me, the notary, in addition, this door was sealed with my signet and the keys were taken into my custody. All this on request of Mrs. Magdalena van Loo, the widow of Titus van Rijn and Mr. Christiaen Dusart, guardian of Cornelia van Rijn, with the explicit stipulation, voiced in the presence of us, the notary and witnessses, that they did not yet wish to declare themsleves legatees of the deceased but wanted to reserve the right and [decide] later on’.
Evidently, this sets the ball rolling for another round of legal disputes, Rembrant has been rather famous for: what the value of Rembrandt’s inheritence? Was due rent still outstanding? Did he pay the rent? Did he have any debtors? Did he ‘borrow’ from Cornelia’s savings, locked in the cupboard? Who is the heir? The man passed away, but legal conflicts just continue.
Back to October 1669. Four days after his death Rembrandt is carried to the grave in the Westerkerk by sisteen bearers (‘baer 16 roff’). The grave was rented and did not carry any headstone. It was not until 1906 that a memorial mark was placed there, (thus Bredius) ‘… indicating the resting place of our greatest artist, one of the greatest among the great, who made the world happy with the immortal wrought of their minds’. The year 1906 marked Rembrandt’s year of birth, at that time 300 years ago.
On Thursday 3 October and Friday 4 October in Rembrandt’s place of birth, Leiden, large celebrations are ongoing for Leidens Ontzet (the Relief of Leiden), the defeat of the Spaning rulers in 1574. Everyone in Leiden still enjoys the Leiden victory, eat hutspot (hodge-podge, sort of carrot and onion stew), herring and white bread and sing during the Reveille! Someone may remember, Rembrandt’s death, 350 years ago.

2019-10-doc1 Call for proposals for PhD workshop European/Insternational insolvency law

A foundation, carrying my name ('Stichting Bob Wessels Insolvency Law Collection') is a Dutch incorporated legal person. For the seconf time it will organise a two day workshop to be held at Leiden University in Leiden, Netherlands on Thursday-Friday 5-6 March 2020. As backgound: the foundation was founded in August 2016, at my initiative, a few years after my retirement from the Leiden University. The Foundation has acquired the larger part of my private collection of books and other media in the field of national, European and international insolvency law and it aims to secure, maintain and expand this collection for the future, provide access to it by national and international students and researchers and to organize related activities for a broad, general public. Although we were deeply saddened by the passing away of two great and inspiring collegues, professor Ian Fletcher (in 2018) and recently Gabriel Moss QC (see http://www.bobwessels.nl/blog/2019-03-doc7-passing-away-of-gabriel-moss-qc/), their heirs have donated Ian's and Gabriel's libraries to the foundation, making it probably the best and largest European and international insolvency law collection on the continent. The Foudation reflects a European reach, with its board consisting of five law professors, prof. Matthias Haentjens and prof. Reinout Vriesendorp (acting as Chairman and secretary/treasury respectively, both of Leiden University), prof. Eric Dirix (Belgium), Dr Paul Omar (England) and prof. Stephan Madaus (Germany). The collection was officially opended by the dean of the Law faculty, prof. Joanne van der Leun, in January 2018, see http://www.bobwessels.nl/blog/2018-01-12-bob-wessels-insolvency-law-collection-1/. After a successful first edition of a PhD workshop in February 2019, the Stichting Bob Wessels Insolvency Law Collection again invites PhD students from Europe and beyond for a second edition of a PhD workshop on European/International Insolvency Law. At this workshop they can present their ideas, but also the challenges and questions they are confronted with in a two day workshop to be held at Leiden University in Leiden, Netherlands on Thursday-Friday 5-6 March 2020. For the call for proposals, which is now available also on the website of the Leiden Law School, see here: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/news/2019/09/second-phd-workshop-on-european-international-insolvency-law. I have been invited as a guest and intend to join the insightful and rich exchange of views during the discussions. I hope to see you there.

2019-09-doc1 Boek Bijzondere bijeenkomsten 5e druk 2019

Onlangs verscheen de 5e druk van Bijzondere overeenkomsten. Het is deel 6 in de Studiereeks Burgerlijk Recht. Het boek staat onder redactie van prof. N.H. Schelhaas en prof. A.J. Verheij, verbonden aan de universiteiten van respectievelijk Rotterdam en Groningen. Het is een studieboek dat al 15 jaar verschijnt en gewijd is aan een aantal bijzondere overeenkomsten zoals geregeld in boek 7 BW. De destijds door de initiatiefnemers van een (Nieuw) BW ontworpen categorisering is gevolgd. Eerst komt een aantal overeenkomsten die strekken tot overdracht aan bod, zoals de koop, de financiëlezekerheidsovereenkomst en de schenking. Verder worden de overeenkomsten tot het verschaffen van genot (huur en pacht) behandeld. Daarna komt de grote groep van bijzondere overeenkomsten aan bod die betrekking hebben op het verrichten van werkzaamheden van allerlei aard waaronder opdracht, lastgeving, agentuur, bemiddeling, de reisovereenkomst, geneeskundige behandelingsovereenkomst, betalingstransacties, bewaarneming, aanneming van werk en de personenvennootschap. Tot slot komen enkele niet in bovenstaande categorieën in te passen overeenkomsten aan de orde zoals de vaststellingsovereenkomst, de borgtocht en de verzekeringsovereenkomst. In het kader van de serie waarin het verschijnt is het doel van het boek niet alleen om inzicht te geven in de specifieke regelingen van de bijzondere overeenkomsten, maar ook in structuur en de onderlinge verhouding van bijzondere overeenkomsten. Het accent ligt daarbij op de onderwerpen die een aanvulling op of een verbijzondering ten opzichte van het algemene vermogensrecht, waaronder het contractenrecht, vormen. Een 15-tal auteurs legt de zaken uit. Het zijn drie praktijkjuristen en verder ervaren academici verbonden aan nagenoeg alle universiteiten, inclusief de OU en TU Delft. Het aspect van 'bijzonderheid' van de desbetreffende overeenkomst komt mooi uit bij hun uiteenzettingen over specifieke regels die gelden bij totstandkoming, hoofdverplichtingen en bijkomende verplichtingen van partijen, bijzonderheden bij de niet nakoming of ontbinding of speciale regels ten aanzien van beëindiging van deze overeenkomsten. Deze 5e druk verwerkte alle wetswijzigingen, rechtspraak en literatuur van de afgelopen drie jaren. Studenten en juridische praktijk zijn weer keurig bediend. Voor informatie, zie https://www.wolterskluwer.nl/shop/boek/bijzondere-overeenkomsten/NPBIJZOVK/

2019-08-doc4 Netherlands puts 'international insolvencies' back on legislative agenda

On 27 August 2019, the Dutch Minister for Legal Protection ('Rechtsbescherming') did send his 11th letter on progress concerning several acts for the overall recast of the Dutch Bankprty Act to Dutch Parliament. On the 5th and last page it introduces the subject 'International insolvencies'. The following is provided, I quote: 'An insolvency adjudicated outside the European Union is in principle not recognized in the Netherlands and therefore has no effect on assets located in the Netherlands. An amendment to the Bankruptcy Act is being considered, whereby parts of the UNICITRAL Model Law on cross-border bankruptcies are included in the Bankruptcy Act. It regulates, among other things, (i) the applicable law, (ii) the recognition (enforcement) of foreign insolvency proceedings and (iii) the consequences of that recognition. I intend to put together an expert group to further explore this.'
Well, that is just as short as it is interesting, as it is a subject the Dutch government has been near to silent about for over a decade.
The first line ('no recognition'; 'no effects') is at odds with a much discussed Yukos judgement of the Dutch Supreme Court of September 2013 (in a non-EU case) clarifying that in that case the appointed Russian trustee (Mr Rebgun) may in principle exercise the power to sell the debtor’s assets located in the Netherlands, that has conferred on him under the foreign (Russian) lex concursus. The Court goes into quite some details to explain the Russian trustee’s position. The result of the case is that – outside the scope of the European Insolvency Regulation – a foreign insolvency office holder can effectively exercise its powers in the Netherlands, provided that his actions follow from the lex concursus (in this cas Russian law) and these actions respect all existing individual creditors’ attachments on assets located in the Netherlands. The foreign IP can act in the Netherlands without prior court decision on for instance recognition of its foreign proceeding or relief (as is required under the UNCITRAL Model Law), or for instance an exequatur. The only defence interested parties have is the submission that an action of the foreign IP is against Dutch public policy. The Yukos judgment therefore results in its effects in universality: the Netherlands is open for foreign insolvency proceedings.
Be it as it is, the important message is that an expert group will be appointed to 'explore' the matter.
I remember that a Dutch draft proposal ('Title X'), as part of a draft Proposal of 2007 to overhaul the whole Dutch Bankruptcy Act wished to follow the Uncitral Model Law, be it with a different structure, and provisions unaligned with those of the Model Law. Foreign, non-Dutch judges and IPs had difficulty in recognising the system. What it did do was to include filling of a gap in the Model Law itself (it does not provide for rules for applicable law). The Dutch Draft of 2007 suggests to copy the rules of law applicabe of the EU Insolvency Regulation.
The expert group is, respectfully, advised not to feel a hostage of the ideas of 12 years ago.
As I blogged earlier, the Model Law is certainly not outdated, however it was the fruit of the 90s, now however over 20 years old. I think national legislation on international insovency law (i) should also take into account more recently developed concepts and themes, such as registration of insolvency decisiones, rules for data protection, the main insolvency practitioner’s power to give a unilateral undertaking (in order to prevent opening of proceedings in another state), technology-driven developments in cross-border communication, professional and ethical rules for insolvency practitioners in their actions outside their own jurisdiction or rules for recognition of for instance decisions on director’s disqualification. See http://www.bobwessels.nl/blog/2017-11-doc7-some-remarks-on-the-model-law/. Furthermore - my advice would be - the expert group working on a national exploration should consider to (ii) also examine most recent UNCITRAL Model rules relating to annex actions and the group enterprise insolvencies, (iii) investigate experiences in recent practice by speaking at lenght with Dutch IPs having actual (and still ongoing) experiences in fresh Brazilian (Oi) and Indian cases (2016 case, see https://leidenlawblog.nl/articles/the-effects-in-the-netherlands-of-an-order-issued-in-indian-insolvency-proc, and the recent Jet Air case), (iv) speak to colleagues from e.g. Australia, Singapore and New Zealand, and learn from the obstacles they met rather recently when implementing UNCITRAL's ideas in their national lagislation, and (v) investigate what the best way would be to give effect to restructuring negotiations and plans, in the vicinity of insolvency, coming from outside Dutch' territory.  
As it is 'exploration', no 'legislation', it certainly is worth considering to include non-Dutch experts in such a group. After all, the non-Dutch world will have to work with the results of it. Exciting times ahead! Those involved in the exploration should be wished all the best.