Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 10

By Francis Geoffrey Jacobs | Go to book overview

Council of Europe--Legal Co-operation*

HANS-JÜRGEN BARTSCH


I. Introduction

Once again, the Council's membership has been enlarged: on 6 November 1990, Hungary joined the Organization as its twenty-fourth member. Its accession marks an important step in the development towards a truly European community of nations; for Hungary is the first of the former Socialist countries to have satisfied the conditions for membership by accepting the concepts of pluralist democracy, the rule of law, and protection of human rights. Others--already granted special guest status in the Parliamentary Assembly--are expected to follow in the near future.1

Two new treaties have been opened for signature in 1990: the European Convention on Certain International Aspects of Bankruptcy2 and the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime.3 The Recommendations adopted in 1990 in pursuance of the Council's legal co-operation and harmonization programme refer to such matters as medical research on human beings, copyright in relation to reprography, and data protection in the financial services sector.


II. Bankruptcy

Due to the increase in transfrontier economic activities, bankruptcy and similar proceedings often affect persons outside the national territory. The European Convention on Certain International Aspects of Bankruptcy, opened for signature at Istanbul on 5 June 1990 (on the occasion of a Conference of European Ministers of Justice) provides for improved international co-operation in this area of the law.

Where a debtor declared bankrupt has assets in another State, or in several other States, the Convention offers two possibilities: it enables the liquidator to exercise certain powers in the other country (Chapter II), and it enables the opening of secondary bankruptcies: a debtor who has been

____________________
*
© Hans-Jürgen Bartsch, 1991. Head of Division, Council of Europe, Strasbourg. I wish to thank my colleagues Lawrence Early and Hans G. Nilsson for their assistance.
1
The Czech and Slovak Federal Republic became the twenty-fifth member on 21 Feb 1991.
2
Of 5 June 1990: ETS No. 136. The English text of the Convention is annexed to this survey.
3
Of 8 Nov 1990: ETS No. 141. The English text of the Convention is annexed to this survey.

-493-

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