As international relations evolve, whether through greater integration or through rethinking of the relationships between legal orders, so too do the rights and obligations of individuals and businesses evolve.  The Centre’s research contributes by responding to change, and by helping law and policy-makers to prepare for it.  As a research hub at the heart of the major actual and proposed developments of our time – from an ever closer European Union, to Scottish independence, to Brexit – the Centre for Private International Law endeavours to anticipate major legal issues, and to deploy expertise to identify questions, and to provide answers.

The Centre is led by Dr Jonathan Fitchen (Director) and Dr Katarina Trimmings (Associate Director).

Dr Jonathan Fitchen, Director

Jonathan’s research interests are concerned with the current and future contribution that private international law can make to the procedures concerning cross-border ‘enforcement’ activities and or to domestic litigation. Jonathan’s research thus concerns principally the procedures by which private international law contributes to the cross-border treatment of judgments, authentic instruments and settlements considered from the twin perspectives of the places from which the relevant enforcement title originates and the place(s) in which it is later produced for recognition and or enforcement. The second strand to this research concerns the effect of applicable law / conflict of law rules on ‘enforcement litigation’ in areas such as competition law and product liability law. Jonathan has considerable experience in teaching private international law to undergraduates, postgraduates and in supervising / examining PhD students in private international law. Jonathan is an editor of Conflict of, has published extensively on the subject and is currently finishing a monograph on the European Private International Law of Authentic Instruments to be published by Hart/Bloomsbury later this year.      

Dr Katarina Trimmings, Associate Director

Katarina's research interests fall within the area of private international law of family law, in particular international parental child abduction and cross-border surrogacy arrangements. She is currently working on a major collaborative EU-funded project on the protection of abducting mothers in return proceedings (POAM project). Previous projects include child abduction in the European Union (K Trimmings, Child Abduction within the European Union, Hart Publishing, 2013); cross-border litigation in Europe (EUPILLAR project, funded by the European Commission; Beaumont, M Danov, K Trimmings & B Yuksel (eds), Cross-Border Litigation in Europe, Hart Publishing, 2017) and international surrogacy arrangements (funded by the Nuffield Foundation; K Trimmings & P Beaumont (eds), International Surrogacy Arrangements: Legal Regulation at the International Level, Hart Publishing, 2013). Katarina is one of the authors of the 15th edition of Cheshire’s Private International Law (Oxford University Press, 2017). Katarina offers supervision to postgraduate research students in the areas of private international law of family law and comparative family law.

Dr Justin Borg-Barthet

Justin’s research, teaching, and postgraduate supervision address a wide range of subject matter, principally in European Union law and Private International Law.  The unifying theme in this body of work is an exploration of the allocation of decisional power as between individuals, States, and supranational regulators.  He is the author of a leading monograph on corporate mobility (The Governing Law of Companies in EU Law (Bloomsbury/Hart 2012).  The book was described as ‘a remarkable analysis of the complex issues resulting from the intersection of private international law of companies and companies' freedom of establishment under the TFEU’ (P Behrens (2013) CMLRev 1870).  This book and his other publications are cited extensively in the literature.  Justin has acted as a consultant to the European Parliament on a review of the Brussels IIa Regulation, and as part of a steering committee advising the European Commission on the possible introduction of legislation concerning the cross-border mobility of companies.  His work on the recognition of same-sex relationships was cited with approval in Advocate General Wathelet's Opinion in Case C-673-16 Coman.

Dr Burcu Yüksel Ripley

Burcu’s research, teaching and postgraduate supervision interests include Turkish and EU private international law, private international law aspects of banking and finance transactions, private international law and digital technologies (extending to digital/virtual/cryptocurrencies, distributed ledger technology and blockchain), and international commercial litigation and arbitration. She is the author and editor of several publications addressing different dimensions of private international law in a comparative and intra/inter-disciplinary manner, notably Uluslararası Elektronik Fon Transferine Uygulanacak Hukuk [The Law Applicable to International Electronic Funds Transfer] (XII Levha, Istanbul, 2018)Cross-Border Litigation in Europe(Hart, 2017)Turkish and EU Private International Law: A Comparison (XII Levha, Istanbul, 2014). Burcu has been involved in internationally collaborated research projects in private international law and appointed by courts in the UK and Turkey to give expert opinion evidence on matters involving a foreign element.

Dr Patricia Živković

Patricia finished her undergraduate studies in 2011 at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb. She holds an LL.M. degree in International Business Law ('12) and an S.J.D. (PhD) degree ('16) from the Central European University (Budapest/New York). She successfully defended her doctoral thesis on the topic “The Determination, Payment, and Allocation of Costs in International Commercial Arbitration” with the highest grade (summa cum laude).

Patricia worked as a research assistant for Professor Emeritus Tibor Várady at the CEU during her doctoral studies and continued to work on arbitration cases as a counsel in a law firm. She actively fosters the usage of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms by co-chairing the Young Croatian Arbitration Practitioners, an association for younger members of the arbitration community in Croatia, which she also co-founded, and by coaching students from various international law faculties for participation in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court. She also holds the position of an associate editor of the Kluwer Arbitration Blog.

Her focus in teaching and researching includes international disputes resolution, with a particular emphasis on international commercial arbitration, private international law, commercial law, the law of the European Union, and IT law.

Dr Onyója Momah

Onyója works with Dr Katarina Trimmings on the POAM project as the project Research Assistant. She is also a Family Law Barrister in London who works in the area of cross-border child abduction and is ranked in The Legal 500 UK. Her PhD abduction, undertaken at the University of Aberdeen and funded by the Elphinstone Scholarship. During the course of her PhD, her research findings and policy recommendations were submitted to The Hague Expert Working Group on the Guide to Good Practice on Article 13(1) b) of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. One of her key recommendations focused on judicial authorities and their interpretation and application of Article 13(1) b) in cases involving allegations of domestic violence.focussed on the issue of domestic violence and international parental child.