Chris Thomale on the EP Draft Report on Corporate Due Diligence

Professor Chris Thomale, University of Vienna and Roma Tre University, has kindly provided us with his thoughts on the recent EP Draft Report on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability.


Annual research meeting Dutch ILA branch: International Law for a Digitised World

The ANNUAL MEETING OF THE ROYAL NETHERLANDS SOCIETY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW (ILA Dutch Branch) is online accessible on Friday 6 NOVEMBER 2020 (13:30 – 16:30 CET).  

 Over the decades, international law adapted in many ways to the quickly evolving, multi-facetted digital reality, and one of the central questions now is whether or not concepts and ideas developed in the ‘predigital era’ still fit the digitalised world. Is international law, both public and private, ready for the digital era or has it rather been a ‘fragmented follower of developments’ and should it fundamentally rethink a number of notions and approaches? 

Does a United States’ Court have jurisdiction to make an order affecting immovable property in Lagos, Nigeria?

In the very recent case of Yankey v Austin (2020) LPELR-49540(CA)  the Nigerian Court of Appeal was faced with the issue of whether a court in the United State has jurisdiction to make an order affecting immovable property in Lagos, Nigeria.

The facts of the case was that the claimant/respondent previously sued the defendant/appellant before the Family Court Division, of the District of the Fourth Judicial District, County of Hennepin, State of Minnesota (“US Court”) – where they resided at the time, for dissolution of their marriage that was celebrated in Nigeria. The defendant/appellant as respondent before the US Court did not contest the dissolution of the marriage. They entered into a Mutual Termination Agreement, which is called Terms of Settlement in the Nigerian legal system. There was no trial and no evidence was adduced. Their homestead at 4104 Lakeside Avenue, Brooklyn Center, Minesota was awarded exclusively to the claimant/respondent as petitioner before the US Court. It did not end there.

A step in the right direction, but nothing more – A critical note on the Draft Directive on mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence

Written by Bastian Brunk, research assistant at the Humboldt University of Berlin and doctoral candidate at the Institute for Comparative and Private International Law at the University of Freiburg.





Commercial arbitration is now very popular around the globe. It forms an important part of Nigerian jurisprudence. In Nigeria, it is regulated by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (“ACA”).[1]

Forward to the Past: A Critical Note on the European Parliament’s Approach to Artificial Intelligence in Private International Law

On 20 October 2020, the European Parliament adopted – with a large margin – a resolution with recommendations to the Commission on a civil liability regime for artificial intelligence (AI). The text of this resolution is available here; on other issues of AI that are part of a larger regulatory package, see the Parliament’s press release here. The draft regulation (DR) proposed in the resolution is noteworthy from a choice-of-law perspective because it introduces new, specific conflicts rules for artificial intelligence (AI) (on the general issues of AI and PIL, see the conference report by Stefan Arnold here). With regard to substantive law, the draft regulation distinguishes between legally defined high-risk AI systems (Art. 4 DR) and other AI systems involving a lower risk (Art. 8 DR). For high-risk AI systems, the draft regulation would introduce an independent set of substantive rules providing for strict liability of the system’s operator (Art. 4 DR). Further provisions deal with the amount of compensation (Art. 5 DR), the extent of compensation (Art. 6 DR) and the limitation period (Art. 7 DR). The spatial scope of those autonomous rules on strict liability for high-risk AI systems is determined by Article 2 DR, which reads as follows:

Back to the Future – (Re-)Introducing the Principle of Ubiquity for Business-related Human Rights Claims

On 11 September 2020, the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs presented a draft report with recommendations to the Commission on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability. This report has already triggered first online comments by Geert van Calster and Giesela Rühl; the present contribution aims both at joining and at broadening this debate. The draft report consists of three proposals: first, a directive containing substantive rules on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability; secondly, amendments to the Brussels Ibis Regulation that are designed to grant claimants from third states access to justice in the EU Member States; and thirdly, an amendment to the Rome II Regulation on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations. The latter measure would introduce a new Art. 6a Rome II, which codifies the so-called principle of ubiquity for business-related human rights claims, i.e. that plaintiffs are given the right to choose between various laws in force at places with which the tort in question is closely connected. While the basic conflicts rule remains the place of damage (lex loci damni) under Art. 4(1) Rome II, Art. 6a of the Rome II-draft will allow plaintiffs to opt for the law of the country in which the event giving rise to the damage occurred (the place of action or lex loci delicti commissi in the narrow sense), the law of the country in which the parent company has its domicile, or, where it does not have a domicile in a Member State, the law of the country where it operates.

Chinese Court Holds Arbitral Award by Foreign Arbitration Institutions in China Enforceable

(This is another version of views for the recent Chinese case on international commercial arbitration provided by Chen Zhi, a PhD candidate in the University of Macau, Macau, PRC)

On 6 August 2020, Guangzhou People’s Intermediate Court (“Guangzhou court”) handed down a ruling on a rare case concerning the enforcement of an award rendered by International Commercial Court of Arbitration (“ICC”) in China,[1] which have given rise to heated debate by the legal community in China. This case was thought to be of great significance by many commentators because it could open the door for enforcement of arbitral awards issued by foreign institution with seat of proceeding in China, and demonstrates the opening-up trend for foreign legal service.
[1]Brentwood Industries Inc. v. Guangdong Faanlong Co, Ltd and Others 2015 Sui Zhong Min Si Fa Chu No.62?

UK Supreme Court on law applicable to arbitration agreements

Written by Stephen Armstrong, lawyer practicing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with an interest in international arbitration. [Linkedin]

On Friday, October 9, 2020, the United Kingdom Supreme Court released an interesting decision concerning the applicable law governing arbitration agreements in international contracts and the jurisdiction of the courts of the seat of the arbitration to grant anti-suit injunctions. The case is Enka Insaat Ve Sanayi A.S. v 000 Insurance Company Chubb, [2020] UKSC 38.

The full text of the Supreme Court’s decision is available here.

A digestible summary of the case, including the facts, the breakdown of votes, and the reasons, is available here.

Human rights in global supply chains: Do we need to amend the Rome II-Regulation?

Written by Giesela Rühl, Humboldt-University of Berlin


The protection of human rights in global supply chains has been high on the agenda of national legislatures for a number of years. Most recently, also the European Union has joined the bandwagon. After Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders announced plans to prepare a European human rights to due diligence instrument in April 2020, the JURI Committee of the European Parliament has now published a Draft Report on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability. The Report contains a motion for a European Parliament Resolution and a Proposal for a Directive which will, if adopted, require European companies – and companies operating in Europe – to undertake broad mandatory human rights due diligence along the entire supply chain. Violations will result, among others, in a right of victims to claim damages.