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Foreign Judgments: The Limits of Transnational Issue Estoppel, Reciprocity, and Transnational Comity

Written by Professor Yeo Tiong Min, SC (honoris causa), Yong Pung How Chair Professor of Law, Yong Pung How School of Law, Singapore Management University

In Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp v Merck KGaA [2021] SGCA 14, a full bench of the Singapore Court of Appeal addressed the limits of transnational issue estoppel in Singapore law, and flagged possible fundamental changes to the common law on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Singapore. The litigation involves multiple parties spread over different jurisdictions. The specific facts involved in the appeal are fairly straightforward, centring on what has been decided in a judgment from the English court, and whether it could be used to raise issue estoppel on the interpretation of a particular term of the contract between the parties. The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the High Court that it could. What makes the case interesting are the wide-ranging observations on the operation of issue estoppel from foreign judgments, and more fundamentally on the basis of the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in the common law of Singapore.

Shell litigation in the Dutch courts – milestones for private international law and the fight against climate change

by Xandra Kramer (Erasmus University Rotterdam/Utrecht Univeristy) and Ekaterina Pannebakker (Leiden University), editors

  1. Introduction

As was briefly announced earlier on this blog, on 29 January 2021, the Dutch Court of Appeal in The Hague gave a ruling in a long-standing litigation launched by four Nigerian farmers and the Dutch Milieudefensie. The Hague Court held Shell Nigeria liable for pollution caused by oil spills that took place in 2004-2007; the UK-Dutch parent company is ordered to install equipment to prevent damage in the future. Though decided almost four months ago, the case merits discussion of several private international law aspects that will perhaps become one of the milestones in the broader context of liability of parent companies for the actions of their foreign-based subsidiaries.

Climate change and related human rights litigation is undoubtedly of increasing importance in private international law. This is also on the radar of the European institutions as evidenced among others  by the ongoing review of the Rome II Regulation (point 6). Today, 26 May 2021, another milestone was reached, both for for private international law but for the fight against global climate change, with the historical judgment (English version, Dutch version) by the Hague District Court ordering Shell to reduce Co2 emissions (point 7). This latter case is discussed more at length in today’s blogpost by Matthias Weller.

  1. Oil spill in Nigeria and litigation in The Hague courts

The Role of the International Social Service in the History of Private International Law

Family Routes Blogby Roxana Banu

The “International Social Service” (initially named “International Migration Service”) was created in 1920 by the Young Women Christian Association as a network of social work branches helping migrant women and children. In 1924 it became an independent transnational network of social work agencies offering socio-legal services to migrants and refugees, irrespective of gender, religion or race. It grew exponentially since then and is now present in over 120 countries helping more than 75,000 families each year. Since its inception and largely unbeknownst to private international law scholars, it worked (and continues to work) on virtually every aspect of transnational family law. In the first half of the twentieth century the ISS used its extensive database of social work case records to draft expert opinions on private international law matters for the League of Nations, bar associations, the US Congress, the Hague Conference on Private International Law and others. It devised and coordinated interdisciplinary teams of experts to conduct research on cross-border family maintenance and cross-border adoptions. It experimented with all sorts of legal arguments in order to push for new claims in private international law, especially in U.S. courts.

News

Second Issue of 2021’s Revue Critique de Droit International Privé

The last issue of the Revue Critique de Droit International Privé has been released. It contains eight articles and several case notes.

The editorial (authored by Horatia Muir Watt, Dominique Bureau and Sabine Corneloup) and five of the articles deal with the reserved share (réserve héréditaire) in international successions. These five articles are authored by: Paul Lagarde (« Une ultime (?) bataille de la réserve héréditaire »), Cécile Pérez (« Quelques observations relatives à la réserve héréditaire dans le projet de loi confortant le respect des principes de la République »), Diane Le Grand de Belleroche (« Contre le retour du droit de prélèvement en droit français : une vue de la pratique du droit international »), Suzel Ramaciotti (« Le prélèvement compensatoire du projet d’article 913 du code civil à l’épreuve des exigences européennes et constitutionnelles »), and Nathalie Joubert (« Droit de prélèvement, réserve héréditaire, protection des héritiers contre les discriminations, quelle méthode ? »).

‘Giustizia consensuale’: A New Law Journal on Consensual Justice in Its Many Nuances and Forms

In recent years, the debate surrounding consensual justice and party autonomy has received increasing attention in the national and international arenas and has raised a broad array of questions. In the pressing need to observe this phenomenon from different perspectives lies the rationale behind a newly founded biannual journal, Giustizia consensuale. The journal, founded and directed by Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà and Prof. Paola Lucarelli, features contributions in both Italian and English.

By adopting an interdisciplinary and holistic approach, the journal aims to investigate the meaning of consensual justice, its relation with judicial justice, and the potential for integrating – rather than contrasting – these two forms of justice. This investigation is premised on the relationship between justice and private autonomy as well as forms of integrative, participatory, and restorative justice. By being particularly suited for meeting the needs of an increasingly complicated and multi-faceted society, these forms of justice ultimately promote social cohesion and reconciliation. Against this backdrop, Giustizia consensuale strives to make a valid contribution to the discourse on conflict and the meaning of justice by fostering an interdisciplinary dialogue which encompasses both theory and practice.

The third EFFORTS Newsletter is here!

EFFORTS (Towards more EFfective enFORcemenT of claimS in civil and commercial matters within the EU) is an EU-funded Project conducted by the University of Milan (coord.), the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law, the University of Heidelberg, the Free University of Brussels, the University of Zagreb, and the University of Vilnius.

The third EFFORTS Newsletter has just been released, giving access to up-to-date information about the Project, save-the-dates on forthcoming events, conferences and webinars, and news from the area of international and comparative civil procedural law.

Regular updates are also available via the Project’s website, and  LinkedIn and Facebook pages.

Project JUST-JCOO-AG-2019-881802
With financial support from the Civil Justice Programme of the European Union