With deep sorrow I am reporting about the death, on 15 March 2019, of my dear colleague Gabriel Moss QC. Gabriel has had a remarkable career as a practitioner, with a clever and unrivalled grasp on the practical as well as the academic dimensions of especially international insolvency law.
We met in the early 2000s both being speakers at several events. These were the early days of the coming into being of the European Insolvency Regulation. The first edition of Gabriel Moss, Ian I. Fletcher, Stuart Isaacs (eds.), Commentary on Council Regulation 1346/2000 on Insolvency Proceedings, of 2002, has been a leading book for many years. It also acted as an annotated guide, with contributions from insolvency experts. It was a pleasure to display then a controversy Gabriel and I presented (with joy) at these international conferences and were we strongly discussed (and disagreed) about, the hot topic of those days: COMI. Gabriel was defending the ‘mind of management’ theory, and I supported the ‘contact with creditors’ approach (during the days of the Daisytek case, with COMI in London issues relating to German and French companies).
These spectacular brain-teaser discussions did not stop when the European Court decided in 2006 on Eurofood, nor when we discussed my comments to the 2009 and 2017 version of the book. Gabriel and I were members in the Board of the International Insolvency Institute (III) from 2004-2010, so in the early days of this organisation. At that time our idea grew the publish, with several other members of III, a book of what was then a groundbreaking new topic, the European rules for recovery and insolvency of banks and insurance undertakings.
This led to our 2006 book Gabriel Moss and Bob Wessels (eds.), EU Banking and Insurance Insolvency, Oxford University Press. With another III-member, Matthias Haentjens, we were able to deliver a second edition in 2017, and he led us through the astounding myriad of detailed rules that had been poured into the market during and after the financial crisis. For Dutch students Gabriel was an entertaining and a rather ‘British’ speaker form 3 hours during the Leiden 2009 Honours Class Comparative and International Insolvency Law. With other non-Dutch speakers, he met a highly motivated group, that delivered reports on the discussions held, to be found in: Anthon Verweij and Bob Wessels (eds.), Comparative and International Insolvency Law. Central Themes and Thoughts, Nottingham, Paris: INSOL Europe 2010. He co-reviewed one of the students’ master-thesis, and made an ever-lasting impression.
We were both expert counsel to the European Commission during 2012-2015, discussing and advising on the recast of the Insolvency Regulation. We expereinced his shrewd judgment on matters of legal wording reflecting true understanding of complex cross-border issues. Last year in July, we both were very sad because of the passing away of our dear friend, professor Ian Fletcher. Gabriel and I were invited by Ian’s wife, Letitia, to speak at Ian’s Memorial services at Lincoln’s Inn, London, 17 January 2019. Our last contact was about a week ago, when the Special Issue in Memory of Ian appeared in Insolvency Intelligence. This Review would not have the standing and reputation it has today without Gabriel.
He has acted in many courts cases, with sharp, intellectual and to the point analysis, to the benefit of his clients as well as the judges in the courts themselves. Gabriel was a self-assured, but also a gentle person. Insolvency law has lost one of its leading practitioners and we will miss him dearly. I extend my deepest sympathy to his family.