Tag Archives: Philippines

Case of the Day: Philippines v. China

Hugo Grotius John Selden

An arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea issued its long-awaited Award in the case the Philippines brought against China arising out of China’s claims in the South China Sea. I’m not a specialist in this area and so I’m not going to offer any detailed comment—you probably want to look to Julian Ku or others for that. Most experts predicted this was an easy win for the Philippines, and that’s how it turned out. The key point, it seems to me, was the tribunal’s decision that China’s maritime entitlements are defined by the Convention, and that even if China had some kind of “historic rights” (the nature and justification of which have never been made clear), they were extinguished when China acceded to the Convention. You can’t own the sea. There was more. Because some features claimed by China did not create exclusive economic zones, areas of the sea around those features were, according to the tribunal, within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, and China had wrongfully interfered with the Philippines’ activity within its EEZ. Some features claimed by China were low-tide elevations that did not even give rise to a twelve-mile territorial sea.
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Case of the Day: McEachern v. Inter-Country Adoption Board of the Philippines

The case of the day is McEachern v. Inter-Country Adoption Board of the Philippines (D. Mass. 2014). In 2012, Geraldine McEachern traveled to the Philippines to adopt two half-sisters, one ten years old and the other sixteen. The older girl was reluctant to travel to the US to be adopted, but the younger was eager. Nevertheless, McEachern brought both back to the US with her. Six months later, the older girl began having behavioral problems and, according to McEachern, was abusive toward her half-sister. McEachern informed Pearl S. Buck International, the agency that facilitated the placement, that she was uncomfortable going forward with the adoption of the older girl. So the older girl was placed in foster care. According to McEachern, the younger girl then began to do very well, and also according to McEachern, experts determined that removing the younger girl from her home would not be in the girl’s best interest. Nevertheless, the Inter-Country Adoption Board of the Philippines determined that it was in the girls’ best interest to be adopted by the same family, and the ICAB denied McEachern permission to adopt only the younger girl and told her that it had found another placement for the two girls with a family in New York. McEachern sued in the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court, seeking an injunction forbidding the ICAB to remove the younger girl from her home.

McEachern first attempted to serve the ICAB by delivering the summons and complaint to the Philippine Consulate General in New York. Service was refused. McEachern then served the documents on the Consulate General via Fedex, and someone in the consulate signed for the papers. The court issued a temporary restraining order. Ultimately McEachern sought a default judgment against the ICAB, at which point the ICAB removed the case to the District Court. McEachern moved to remand the case to the Probate and Family Court.
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Case of the Day: Asignacion v. Rickmers Genoa Schiffahrts

The case of the day is Asignacion v. Rickmers Genoa Schiffahrts (E.D. La. 2014). Lito Martinez Asignacion, a Philippine national, was employed by Rickmers Genoa Schiffahrts as a seaman aboard the M/V Rickmers Dalian, a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel. There was a written employment contract, entered into by Rickmers and by the Philippine government through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. The contract contained an arbitration provision requiring arbitration of disputes in the Philippines, and it provided that claims arising out of Asignacion’s employment would be governed by Philippines law.
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