I am saddened by the news that on 11 January Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr., Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, has passed away.
He was, among many other things, also a Professor of Law at Yale, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, Berkeley. In the USA he was a leading figure in the fields of civil procedure, judicial administration, and legal ethics. He has also been Director of the American Law Institute (ALI). After he attended one of my lectures, he approached me for becoming a member of ALI. At that time, 2004, he was the champion of a project, that had started under his leadership, in the mid 90s, ALI’s Transnational Insolvency project. The results of this project laid the groundwork for what we now know as the UNCITRAL Model Law. Later he was a leading figure in the collaboration of ALI with UNIDROIT on the ALI/UNIDROIT Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure.
Professor Hazard introduced me at ALI to work on joint study, commissioned by the ALI and the International Insolvency Institute (III), with the central question: the recommendations in the Transnational Insolvency Project, applying to the USA, Canada and Mexico, can these be recommended all over the world? The study undertaken was conducted over a period of six years, ending in 2012, the Joint Reporters being Ian F. Fletcher (University College London) and myself.
In a 300-page supportive report we delivered the ALI-III Global Principles and Guidelines 2012, reinforcing the importance of court-to-court cross-border cooperation in insolvency cases. These are 37 Global Principles for Cooperation in International Insolvency Cases, and 18 Global Guidelines for Court-to-Court Communications in International Insolvency Cases. These ALI-III Global Principles and Guidelines 2012 have been republished in 2017, see blog/2017-09-doc1-ali-iii-global-principles-and-guidelines-2012.
I was very pleased to see Geoff’s thumbs up! These principles and guidelines also have formed a basis for the EU Cross-border insolvency court-to-court cooperation principles, published in 2015. Presently, in Europe again, the European Law Institute (a ‘sister’ organisation of ALI) has a project ongoing as a cooperative venture of ELI and UNIDROIT. It builds upon the aforementioned ALI/UNIDROIT Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure, and aims at the regional development of those Principles. Geoff Hazard played a foundational role in the past half-century of civil procedure and legal ethics in the USA. Moreover, in Europe, in insolvency law and procedural law we stand on his shoulders.
For me he was an important force in law reform efforts, pragmatic, to clarify, modernize, and improve the law. He has been instrumental in my professional development and I thank him for that. He died at the age of 88. See www.legacy.com/obituaries