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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.

Fraud and Foreign Judgments under Singapore law

A foreign judgment is generally not to be reviewed on the merits at the recognition and enforcement stage. Yet, an exception has always been carved out for fraud under the common law rules on the basis that ‘fraud unravels everything’ (Lazarus Estates Ltd v Beasley [1956] 1 QB 702, 712 per Lord Denning). Thus, English courts allow a judgment debtor to raise fraud at the recognition and enforcement stage even if no new evidence is adduced and fraud had been considered and dismissed by the court of origin (Abouloff v Oppenheimer & Co (1882) 10 QBD 295). This seeming anomaly with the prohibition against a review of the merits of a foreign judgment has been justified on the basis that where fraud is concerned, the court of origin is misled, not mistaken (Abouloff). The Abouloff rule has been much criticized, but successive courts have refused to depart from it (see also Altimo Holdings and Investment Ltd v Kyrgyz Mobil Tel Ltd [2011] UKPC 7, [2012] 1 WLR 1804, [116] (Privy Council)). Further, in Takhar v Gracefield Developments Ltd ([2019] UKSC 13, [2020] AC 450) which is a case on fraud and domestic judgments, the Supreme Court held that, generally, no requirement that the fraud could not have been uncovered with reasonable diligence in advance of obtaining the judgment would be imposed on the party seeking to set aside the judgment on the basis of fraud. As one of the oft-cited criticisms for the Abouloff rule is that it is out of step with how English courts deal with domestic judgments, Takhar may have the effect of further embedding the Abouloff rule.

News

The Final PSEFS Project Event on 20 & 21 October 2020

We have already reported on PSEFS, that stands for “Personalized Solution in European Family and Succession Law”, a co-funded EU Justice project, on two occasions: here and here.

On Tuesday 20 & Wednesday 21 October 2020 the project leader University of Camerino and its partners are organising the Final PSEFS Project Events to disseminate at the project results and discuss the pressing issues in the area of cross-border implications of couples’ property and succession. Rich programme includes many speakers from justice and academia. The event will take place online and participation is free of charge while registration is mandatory – here.

Transboundary Environmental Pollution in PIL from a Comparative Perspective

Guillaume Laganière has published his doctoral thesis (McGill University, May 2020) “Liability for transboundary pollution in private international law: a duty to ensure prompt and adequate compensation” online here. Because of the author’s comparative approach to the topic, the work is not only interesting to Canadian readers. The abstract reads as follows:

Our legal response to transboundary pollution depends not only on the adoption of preventive measures and regulatory oversight but also on the existence of civil liability mechanisms. Victims fundamentally seek to hold polluters liable for breaching their duties or deviating from basic standards of diligence, to obtain redress for the damage that ensued and to prevent it from continuing. The process becomes difficult, however, when pollution crosses borders and several domestic regimes are involved. This is where private international law comes into play.

Universal Civil Jurisdiction – Which Way Forward?

Serena Forlati and Pietro Franzina edited a book on the Universal Civil Jurisdiction, which was published by Brill a couple of days ago. The book features contributions prepared by colleagues  from four different European countries and eight universities.

The contributions included are the following:

  • ‘The Case of Naït-Liman before the European Court of Human Rights – A Forum Non Conveniens for Asserting the Right of Access to a Court in Relation to Civil Claims for Torture Committed Abroad?’ (Andrea Saccucci, University of Campania);

 

  • ‘The Role of the European Court of Human Rights in the Development of Rules on Universal Civil Jurisdiction – Naït-Liman v Switzerland in the Transition between the Chamber and the Grand Chamber’ (Serena Forlati, University of Ferrara);