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Court of Appeal allows in England claims against English-based multinational for overseas human rights violations

Written by Ekaterina AristovaPhD in Law Candidate, University of Cambridge

On 14 October 2017, the London’s Court of Appeal passed its long awaited decision in Lungowe v Vedanta confirming that foreign citizens can pursue in England legal claims against English-based multinationals for their overseas activities.

In 2015, Zambian villagers commenced proceedings against Vedanta, an English-based mining corporation, and its indirect Zambian subsidiary, KCM, alleging responsibility of both companies for the environmental pollution arising out of the operation in Zambia of the Nchanga Copper Mine by KCM. In 2016, the High Court allowed claims against both companies to be heard in England. The overall analysis of the judgement (see the author’s earlier post on this blog) suggested that (1) claims against the parent company on the breach of duty of care in relation to the overseas operations of the foreign subsidiary can be heard in the English courts and (2) the existence of an arguable claim against the English-domiciled parent company also establishes jurisdiction of the English courts over the subsidiary even if the factual basis of the case occurs almost exclusively in the foreign state. The Court of Appeal has entirely upheld a High Court ruling.

Dutch collective redress dangerous? A call for a more nuanced approach

Prepared by Alexandre Biard, Xandra Kramer and Ilja Tillema, Erasmus University Rotterdam

The Netherlands has become dangerously involved in the treatment of mass claims, Lisa Rickard from the US Chamber of Commerce recently said to the Dutch financial daily (Het Financieele Dagblad, 28 September 2017) and the Dutch BNR newsradio (broadcast of 28 September 2017). This statement follows the conclusions of two reports published in March and September 2017 by the US Institute for Legal Reforms (ILR), an entity affiliated with the US Chamber of Commerce. Within a few hours, the news spread like wildfire in online Dutch newspapers, see for instance here.

I thought we were exclusive? Some issues with the Hague Convention on Choice of Court, Brussels Ia and Brexit

This blog post is by Dr Mukarrum Ahmed (Lancaster University) and Professor Paul Beaumont (University of Aberdeen). It presents a condensed version of their article in the August 2017 issue of the Journal of Private International Law. The blog post includes specific references to the actual journal article to enable the reader to branch off into the detailed discussion where relevant. It also takes account of recent developments in the Brexit negotiation that took place after the journal article was completed.    

News

New Contracting Parties to the HCCH Service and HCCH Evidence Conventions and a signatory State to the HCCH Judgments Convention

Yesterday (4 March 2020) Viet Nam acceded to the HCCH Evidence Convention and the Philippines acceded to the HCCH Service Convention.  Ukraine signed the HCCH Judgments Convention.

The HCCH Evidence Convention will enter into force for Viet Nam on 3 May 2020. Pursuant to article 39 of the Evidence Convention, the accession will have effect only as regards the relations between Viet Nam and such Contracting States as will have declared their acceptance of the accession. Accordingly, this is a semi-open Convention similar to the HCCH Child Abduction Convention.

In the absence of any objection pursuant to its article 28, the HCCH Service Convention will enter into force for the Philippines on 1 October 2020. No objection has ever been made under the Service Convention (so far).

Australia’s first contested ICSID enforcement

In February, the Federal Court of Australia delivered its judgment on the first contested enforcement of International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) awards in Australia. In Eiser Infrastructure Ltd v Kingdom of Spain [2020] FCA 157, the Court enforced two ICSID awards—award of 4 May 2017 in Case No. ARB/13/36, and award of 15 June 2018 as rectified by the award dated 29 January 2019 in Case No. ARB/13/31—against the Kingdom of Spain. The two cases were brought by different applicants but were heard and decided together.

CJEU rules on the opposability of a choice-of-court clause contained in a large-risk insurance contract in relation to the insured: Case C-803/18, BALTA

The case concerns the question whether the Lithuanian courts have jurisdiction under the Brussels I bis Regulation to deal with a case involving an insurance payment claimed by a company established in Lithuania and covered by a civil liability insurance contract concluded between the policyholder and the insurer, both of whom are established in Latvia.

The insurance contract in question contained a clause providing that any dispute relating to this contract should be brought before the Latvian courts. Following the wording of the preliminary question, the claimant is a ‘person insured under that contract who has not expressly subscribed to that clause’.