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Written by Giesela Rühl, University of Jena/Humboldt-University of Berlin

Note: This blogpost is part of a series on „Corporate social responsibility and international law“ that presents the main findings of all contributions published in August Reinisch, Stephan Hobe, Eva-Maria Kieninger & Anne Peters (eds), Unternehmensverantwortung und Internationales Recht, C.F. Müller, 2020.

1. Corporate social responsibility has been the subject of lively debates in private international law for many years. These debates revolve around the question of whether companies domiciled in countries of the Global North can be held liable for human rights violations committed by foreign subsidiaries or suppliers in countries of the Global South (so-called supply chain liability).

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Written by Nico Krisch, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva

Note: This blogpost is part of a series on „Corporate social responsibility and international law“ that presents the main findings of all contributions published in August Reinisch, Stephan Hobe, Eva-Maria Kieninger & Anne Peters (eds), Unternehmensverantwortung und Internationales Recht, C.F. Müller, 2020.

1. The conceptual framework of jurisdictional boundaries in international law continues to be dominated by the principle of territoriality and its exceptions, even if calls for a reorientation have grown in recent years.

2. The principle of territoriality leads today to far wider jurisdictional claims than in the past, and its limits are being redefined through ‘territorial extensions’ in a number of areas.

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Written by Anatol Dutta, University of Munich

Note: This blogpost is part of a series on „Corporate social responsibility and international law“ that presents the main findings of the contributions published in August Reinisch, Stephan Hobe, Eva-Maria Kieninger & Anne Peters (eds), Unternehmensverantwortung und Internationales Recht, C.F. Müller, 2020.

1. The question of the reach of courts’ jurisdiction is highly significant for claims against transnational enterprises based on human rights violations or environmental damages abroad. It does not only determine the applicable law but also the access to a particular justice system.

2. Universal jurisdiction of national courts for human rights and environmental damages claims against enterprises cannot be established, neither on the basis of existing law nor from a legal policy perspective. Rather, such claims have to be handled under the traditional jurisdictional mechanisms.

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By Stephen G.A. Pitel, Faculty of Law, Western University

Instrubel, N.V., a Dutch corporation, has been attempting in litigation in Quebec to garnish assets of the Republic of Iraq.  The difficult issue has been the nature of the assets sought to be garnished and where they are, as a matter of law, located.  The assets are funds in a bank account in Switzerland payable to the Republic of Iraq (through the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority) by IATA, a Montreal-based trade association.

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by Marie Elaine Schäfer

The cross-border expansion of EU companies’ economic activities not only leads to a globalised market, but also impacts human rights as well as the environment in countries worldwide. The recent rise of claims against EU companies for the violations committed by their subsidiaries located in third countries is a by-product of that context. With Germany being the world’s third largest importing country, the question of corporate responsibility for harmful events abroad is crucial. The present post provides an overview of the most recent legal developments on that topic.

“National Action Plan” and voluntary principle

The central aspect of Germany’s approach to prevent human rights violations and environmental damages caused by German companies’ foreign subsidiaries is a voluntary – as opposed to binding – principle.

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by Nadia Rusinova

The coronavirus will have an enormous impact on how we consume, how we learn, how we work, and how we socialize and communicate. It already significantly impacts the functioning of the justice system – the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements have required courts to be flexible and creative in continuing to carry out essential functions.

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Written by Elijah Granet

When a British woman gives birth in a German hospital staffed with British midwives on a contract from the British ministry of defence, what law applies and to what extent? This seemingly simple question took Mrs Justice Foster, in the English and Welsh High Court of Justice, 299 paragraphs to answer in a mammoth judgment released on 24 April: Roberts (a minor) v Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association & Ors [2020] EWHC 994 (QB).   In the course of resolving a variety of PIL issues, Mrs Justice Foster held that the German law of limitations should be disapplied as, on the specific facts of the case, contrary to public policy.

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By Radhika Parthasarathy

The advent of the internet has led to mass-communication like no other. Everything one wants is at the tip of our fingers now, thanks to mobile phones, laptops, iPads and the likes. Mass consumerism has seen an exponential increase in the last ten years. If one needs to buy quirky stationery, we have the likes of Amazon and Chumbak online; if one wants to watch the latest episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Netflix does the needful; if we wish to read multiple newspapers, while also saving papers, multiple Apps such as InShorts exist.  Platforms such as these stream large quantities of data across the globe, thus bringing the world closer, but also leading to certain jurisdictional issues in case of litigations. Such activity requires a cross-cutting need and definition of personal jurisdiction.

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By Jos Hoevenaars and Xandra Kramer, Erasmus University Rotterdam (postdoc and PI ERC consolidator project Building EU Civil Justice, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Introduction

As is illustrated in a series of blog posts on this website, the current pandemic also has an impact on the administration of justice and on international litigation. As regards collective redress, Matthias Weller reported on the mass litigation against the Austrian Federal State of Tyrol and local tourist businesses. The Austrian Consumer Protection Association (Österreichischer Verbraucherschutzverein, VSV) has been inviting tourists that have been in the ski areas in Tyrol – which turned into Corona infection hotspots – in the period from 5 March 2020 and shortly afterwards discovered that they were infected with the virus, to enrol for claims for damages against the Tyrolean authorities and the Republic of Austria. Hundreds of coronavirus cases in Iceland, the UK, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands can be traced back to that area. Currently over 4,000 (including nearly 400 Dutch nationals) have joined the action by the VSV.

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Written by Haggai Carmon, Carmon & Carmon, an international law firm with offices in Tel Aviv and a front office in New York.

The requirement of parties’ good faith conduct is fundamental in Israeli law and jurisprudence. However, only recently the Supreme Court has applied that doctrine to enforcement of foreign judgments as thus far, only lower courts have followed that doctrine.

In Civil Appeal Prof. Menachem Smadja v. Bankruptcy Office Geneva, the Supreme Court (per Esther Hayut, Chief Justice,) on August 27, 2019, unanimously denied an appeal over a District Court’s earlier finding that procedural bad faith is independently  sufficient grounds to rule against a party whose conduct during proceedings to enforce a Swiss judgment, was so egregious that it warranted such extreme measure.

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