On 10th April 2017, the Center for Private International Law of the Hague Convention at the Law Faculty, University of Niš (Serbia) was honoured to host Mr. Hans van Loon, former Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (1996-2013), and organize a series of lectures for law students and legal practitioners.
In the welcome address, Assistant Professor Maja Nastić, Vice Dean of Studies and Scientific Research at the Law Faculty in Niš, underscored that the Law Faculty in Niš took pride in the fact that these lectures are the first lectures for law students that Mr. Hans van Loon has ever held in Serbia and former Yugoslavia countries. On behalf of the Law Faculty in Niš, the Vice-Dean credited Mr. Hans van Loon for his kind support to establishing the Center for Private International Law of the Hague Conventions on the premises of the Law Faculty in Niš, and thanked him for officially opening the Centre on 5th October 2012. On behalf of the Hague Conference, Mr. van Loon presented the Center with an extremely valuable collection of Actes et documents. The Vice-Dean also noted that the Faculty of Law in Niš is the only law school in Serbia that has introduced the course in Private International Law of the Hague Conventions as a compulsory subject in the Master degree law study curriculum, upon the initiative of the Center for Private International Law of the Hague Conventions.
After the Vice-Dean’s welcome address, Mr. Hans van Loon and the attending students were greeted by Professor Mirko Živković, Head of the PIL Center in Niš. In his opening address, Professor Živković recalled Mr. Van Loon’s first visit to the Law Faculty in Niš in 2012, when Mr. Hans Van Loon was the speaker at the 10th Jubilee Private International Law Conference organized on the premises of the Law Faculty, University of Niš. The annual PIL Conferences have been traditionally organized since 2003, at the initiative of Professor Živković, with an aim of bringing together PIL professors and assistants from the former SFRY countries.
The topic of the first lecture given by Mr. Hans van Loon was The Global Horizon of Private International Law, where the students of the Law Faculty in Niš had the opportunity to learn how the Hague Conference approaches the problem of global unification of Private International Law, creates a flexible system of cooperation among the Contracting States to the Hague Convention, addresses and overcomes the problems arising thereof. 10th Jubilee Private International Law Conference organized on the premises of the Law Faculty, University of Niš. The annual PIL Conferences have been traditionally organized since 2003, at the initiative of Professor Živković, with an aim of bringing together PIL professors and assistants from the former SFRY countries. compulsory subject in the Master degree law study curriculum, upon the initiative of the Center for Private International Law of the Hague Conventions.
The second lecture given by Mr. van Loon was on Coordination of the 1980 Child Abduction Convention and the 1996 Protection of Children Convention. Apart from students, the participants of this session were the local court judges and legal practitioners from the City of Niš. During this session, which took two and a half hours, the audience took advantage of the given opportunity to participate in a vibrant discussion with Mr. van Loon and address certain issues concerning the successive implementation of the 1980 Child Abduction Convention and the 1991 Child Protection Convention, which has only recently entered into force for the Republic of Serbia (on 1st November 2016). The matter of particular interest were issues raised on the retention of jurisdiction of the court of the state of habitual residence of the child to decide on parental responsibility in child abduction cases (Article 7 of the Child Protection Convention), as well as the (possible) court interpretations of the provisions on grave risk exception in the proceedings for the return of the child (Article 13 para. 1, item b) of the Child Abduction Convention) in domestic violence cases where the immediate victim is not the child but the abducting parent.
In the afternoon workshop, Mr. Hans van Lon was presented the basic ideas of the Hague Conference Judgment Project and elaborated on the development of this very important project which should result in adopting a global convention on the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. During the dynamic discussion on this matter with the students of the Law Faculty in Niš, Mr. van Loon provided an extensive analysis of the provisions envisaged in the latest version of the 2017 Draft Convention on the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. Considering the great interest raised by the discussion topic, the workshop took two and a half hours, in the course of which the students posed numerous questions, expressed opinions and provided some suggestions to some of the discussed issues.
The students were prepared for the in-depth discussion on the Judgement Project by Assistant Professor Sanja Marjanovic.