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international litigation blog

The Netherlands Amends and Broadens its Legal Framework on Collective Claims

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On 19 March 2019, the Dutch Parliament adopted the act aimed at facilitating the litigation of collective damages claims (the Act).

Under the previous regime (see previous post), Dutch courts could only render a declaratory judgment establishing that the defendant acted unlawfully. As a claim for damages could not be brought in collective actions, claimants had to resort to the Dutch Collective Settlement of Mass Claims Act (WCAM) in order to settle the case with the defendant, after which the Amsterdam Court of Appeal declared that settlement generally binding.

This situation has now changed with the adoption of the Act as it introduces the possibility to claim damages in a collective action before Dutch courts.

In addition, the Act also adds stricter requirements regarding the standing of representative organisations. While individual plaintiffs taking a role in class actions are inadmissible under Dutch law, the Act contains some key provisions regarding the qualification and characteristics of “representative organisations” (i.e., claim vehicles that take a role in the litigation and settlement negotiations with the defendant). The Act also contains specific provisions on the conduct of the proceedings.READ MORE

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SAVE THE DATE: CEPANI40 Event on Investment Arbitration and EU Law

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On 8 May 2019, Van Bael & Bellis (my firm) will host a CEPANI40 event on the relationship between investment arbitration and EU law. The timing of the event could not have been better since the Court of Justice of the European Union will have delivered its long-awaited Opinion 1/17 (on CETA) just a couple of days before (on 30 April 2019).

You will find the full programme of the event below. For registration, please send an email (with your affiliation) to events@vbb.com.

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The United States Requests KORUS Consultations with South Korea over Competition Policy

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I reported a couple of weeks ago that the European Union (the EU) requested, in December 2018, formal consultations with South Korea following Korea’s failure to implement certain sustainable development commitments made under the EU-Korea Trade Agreement.

It now appears that it is the United States’ turn to initiate formal consultations with South Korea pursuant to Chapter 16 of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).READ MORE

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Equivalence and Translation: Further thoughts on IO Immunities in Jam v. IFC

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At the end of February, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a landmark judgment on the immunity of international organizations in Jam v. International Finance Corporation, 58 U.S. (2019). The case concerned the meaning of the 1945 International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), which affords international organizations “the same immunity from suit […] as is enjoyed by foreign governments[1]. Writing for a 7-1 majority, Chief Justice Roberts found that the IOIA incorporates a dynamic immunities regime, equivalent to whatever immunities US law affords to foreign states. The immunities of international organizations are keyed to sovereign immunity. The former evolve to meet the latter. Thus, as the US law of sovereign immunity has shifted from an absolute to a restrictive paradigm with the enactment of the 1952 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), so too does the IOIA today incorporate merely restrictive immunity for international organizations.READ MORE

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Achmea – A Year After: My Contribution in European Papers

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Dear readers,

As we have just celebrated the first anniversary of the Achmea judgment (which the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down on 6 March 2018), I wanted to share with you an article that I have just published in the European Papers[1] on the implications of that judgment on investor-State dispute settlement and applicable law clauses in BITs and other agreements concluded by the EU (or its Member States) with third countries.READ MORE

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European Parliament Amends Proposal for Directive on Collective Representative Actions

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On 7 December 2018, the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee adopted a Report (the Report) on the proposal (the Proposal) for a Directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers, and repealing Directive 2009/22/EC. This Resolution amends the proposal published by the European Commission in April 2018 (see previous article here).

The Proposal enables collective redress actions against infringements of EU law with a broad consumer impact. Accordingly, it covers areas such as data protection, financial services, travel and tourism, energy, telecommunications, environment and health.

The measures contained in the Proposal remain largely unchanged. However, in its Report, the Committee on Legal Affairs puts forward a number of interesting amendments to the initial Proposal.READ MORE

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Opinion 1/17 on CETA: Advocate General Bot Finds Investment Court System in CETA compatible with EU law

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This article has jointly been co-authored by Quentin Declève and Isabelle Van Damme

On 29 January 2019, Advocate General Bot delivered his long-awaited Opinion (the Opinion) on whether the investment court system (ICS) in Chapter Eight, Section F, of the European Union-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is compatible with European Union (EU) law, in particular with the autonomy of the EU legal order and fundamental rights. The next step in the proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), initiated by Belgium following complications in its ratification process, is for the CJEU to deliver its Opinion on the same question (see previous post here and report of the hearing before the CJEU here).

This article discusses the key elements of the Opinion and the implications of these CJEU proceedings on the European Union’s common commercial policy and its policy of advocating reform of existing investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) and the establishment of a multilateral investment court (MIC).READ MORE

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