Vol. 13.2, May 2009


Mixed Feelings

As Editor-in-Chief of the EJCL, I usuallly find it most agreeable to write an editorial to announce the publication of a new issue. This time, however, I have mixed feelings. There is plenty of good news, but, alas, bad news claims its place too.

It is my sad duty to inform you that fellow EJCL editor Gainan Avilov has passed away. He died unexpectedly last year and I have only recently received confirmation of his death. Gainan joined the Editorial Board in 1999. He was Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Research Center for Private Law in Moscow and as such reported directly to the President of the Russian Federation. One of his many accomplishments was his role in the realisation of the new Russina Civil Code. With him the EJCL loses, in the words of fellow editor Symeon Symeonides, ‘the dynamic perspective of an evolving legal system which is one of the new hot-beds, some might say paradises, of comparative law’ (EJCL, vol. 3.1, August 1999, editorial). On behalf of the Editorial Board, I would like to offer my condolences to Gainan’s family, friends and colleagues. We are very sorry for their loss.

We say goodbye to another EJCL editor, but this parting sorrow is much sweeter. Professor Paul van Seters of Tilburg University and of TiasNimbas Business School felt it was time for a change and has stepped down as editor to devote his considerable energies to new challenges. Paul has been with the EJCL right from the start. I do not exaggerate when I say that in those early years his support as director of the Schoordijk Institute was indispensable (despite his assertions to the contrary) and again when the current Assistant Editor’s predecessor, Hildegard Penn – whom Paul remembers fondly – fell seriously ill. His efforts and contribution are greatly appreciated and the Editorial Board wishes him godspeed in his future endeavours.

When Paul and I were reminiscing about the past and looking ahead, he unreservedly and enthusiastically qualified his intended successor as ‘excellent’, as did the other editors. And so it is that, on a happier note, I am proud to welcome Professor Jan Smits to the EJCL Editorial Board. Jan is professor of European private law and of comparative law at Tilburg University, and director of the Tilburg Institute of Comparative and Transnational Law. Jan told me he is keen to contribute to the EJCL’s continued success and we are more than pleased to be able to benefit from his creative input.

This Issue: Intermediate 2008 IACL Congress in Mexico

From 13 to 15 November 2008, the First Intermediate Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law (IACL) took place in Mexico. The congress was hosted by the Mexican National Committee and its theme was ‘The Impact of Uniform Law on National Law. Limits and possibilities’. The many reports that were presented at the congress included the four Dutch contributions that the Netherlands Comparative Law Association is pleased to publish in this EJCL issue.

In his report, Piet Hein van Kempen (of Radboud University Nijmegen) discusses the influence of human rights on Dutch criminal procedure. He observes that although ‘the Dutch criminal procedure system shows genuine concern for human rights’, these rights appear to play an ever more subsidiary role ‘as absolute minimum conditions, and less and less as guiding principles, the generous fulfilment of which is an aspiration for legislation, policy and practice.’

Sonja Kruisinga (of Utrecht University) addresses the incidence of the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) in the law of obligations in the Netherlands. Her conclusions are that this incidence has been ‘extensive’ and that ‘the CISG has had an important influence on the development of the law of obligations in the Netherlands.’ By way of illustration, she provides several examples of the impact of the CISG on national law.

The focus of Vesna Lazić (of Utrecht University) is on commercial arbitration. In her paper, she examines both ‘the meaning and reach of the notion of “uniform law” in substantive law’ and the relevance of uniform law to the drafting of statutory arbitration law in the Netherlands.

Finally, Katja Lubina (of Maastricht University) looks at the protection of Dutch cultural heritage. Her analysis shows that ‘the Dutch national legislation for the protection of cultural heritage follows a non-integrative approach’ and that ‘the Dutch concept of cultural heritage is based on the principle of property rights in the sense that tangible cultural heritage is primarily considered someone's property and only secondarily as cultural heritage.’

Intermediate congresses are, I believe, an excellent IACL initiative to bridge the gap between its international congresses that take place every four years. The most recent of these was held in Utrecht in 2006 and the next one – the 18th – will take place in Washington D.C. (in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel) from 25 July to 1 August 2010. It will be hosted by American University Washington College of Law, George Washington University Law School, and Georgetown University Law Center. If past experiences are anything to go by, it will be a memorable occasion that comparatists from all over the world are looking forward to with great anticipation.

Sjef van Erp,
President of the Netherlands Comparative Law Association

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