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The prohibition of surrogate motherhood in France

The French prohibition of surrogate motherhood, resting on moral and ethical considerations, raises complex issues of private international law.

Surrogate motherhood has been prohibited in France since 1991, under a decision by the Cour de cassation (France’s highest court), (Cass. Ass. plén., 31/05/1991). This prohibition was confirmed in the bioethics law of 1994, and is codified in article 16-7 of French Civil Code (“Civil Code”). Article 16-9 of the Civil Code makes this a prohibition of public order (In France, prohibitions of ordre public or public order are mandatory rules created unilaterally by the state to protect fundamental values of the society, and from which parties have no freedom to derogate. A foreign law applicable under a conflict of laws analysis would be evicted if contrary to a mandatory rule). A surrogacy contract is null and void, and violations are punished by civil and criminal sanctions (civil sanctions are described in articles 311-25, 325 and 332-1 of the Civil Code and criminal sanctions at articles 227-12 §3 and 227-13 of the Penal Code).

The prohibition is justified by different moral and ethical concerns: to prevent children from becoming commodities traded as merchandise between infertile couples and surrogate mothers; to protect the interest of children who are psychologically at risk in such transaction; and to prevent the exploitation of surrogate mothers who must relinquish parental rights to the child after giving birth. Surrogate mothers are usually from lower economic strata and are economically exploited in this transaction. Statistically there is an inherent social division in this practice. This is evinced by the fact that most surrogacy contracts require compensation because very few women would bear someone else’s child for free. This social division is not new – surrogate mothers were slaves in the days of the Bible and Ancient Rome.

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The Amendment of Spain’s Arbitration Act: A Promising But Unfinished Agenda

By Guillermo Bayas Fernández
Attorney-at-law in Spain
Fundación Rafael del Pino scholar
NYU LL.M. Candidate, Class of 2011

Abstract

Last September, the Spanish Government sent to the Parliament a bill (the Bill) to reform the current Spanish Arbitration Act (Ley 60/2003, de 23 de diciembre, de Arbitraje), which is now being discussed in Congress. The Bill improves different aspects of the existing regulation, mainly those concerning the action to set aside the award, arbitrators’ liability, arbitration of corporate disputes and the effect of insolvency proceedings on arbitration agreements. However, the possible suppression of dissenting opinions prejudices arbitration and the regulation on challenge of judicial jurisdiction favors frivolous attempts to avoid abiding by arbitration agreements. respective  Additionally, the proposed assignment of functions among judicial bodies in arbitration issues lacks coherence and does not create a long-demanded unification appeal on arbitration matters. While this article welcomes some of the intended modifications, it raises concerns that Spain might be losing a unique opportunity to adopt a modern regulation that would advance its chances of becoming a prime international arbitration seat.

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Louis Henkin in JILP

In memory of Louis Henkin, who died last month in New York, I recently took to the archives, to see whether any of his work had found its way into the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics.  While Henkin’s byline never appeared in any of JILP’s forty-two volumes, his work nevertheless left a mark on our pages.

In the seventh volume of JILP, a review of Henkin’s Foreign Affairs and the Constitution recognized the supreme importance of this work to the field of U.S. foreign relations law.  (7 N.Y.U. J. Int’l L. & Pol. 203.)  Henkin, Stanley Futterman wrote, spoke with “the natural modesty and courage of the true teacher.”  But our reviewer soon takes  a more critical stance in light of Henkin’s discussion of Vietnam.

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