October 2017 - international litigation blog
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October 2017

Brexit (1): Can Arbitration be Used to Fix Unresolved U.K.-EU Matters?

Brexit is definitely a source of political, legal, financial and diplomatic uncertainties. It is also a source of discussions in arbitration and international litigation circles. Indeed, Brexit will certainly have an impact of London has a hub for arbitration (something that we discussed earlier with Professor Bermann), but it will also have a strong impact on the litigation practice in the United Kingdom (the U.K.).

In this context, I have decided to devote a series of blog posts on those issues. The first of those blog posts has kindly been drafted and prepared by my colleague, Benedict Blunnie (intern at Van Bael & Bellis) on the possibility, for the European Union (the EU) and the U.K., to have recourse to arbitration as a means to solve their unfinished business.READ MORE


Case to Watch: Dutch Supreme Court Expected to Rule on Applicable Law in Air-Cargo Competition Damage Claims

On 2 August 2017, the Amsterdam District Court handed down a ruling in which it announced its intention to refer to the Dutch Supreme Court the issue of which laws apply in mass damage claims brought against airlines carriers accused of having operated a cartel in the air-cargo sector.

In 2010*, the European Commission adopted a decision in which eleven air carriers (including British Airways, Air France/KLM, Air Canada and Lufthansa) were fined a total of almost EUR 800 million for fixing prices for fuel and security surcharges on airfreight services.

In the aftermath of this decision, many allegedly injured customers brought follow-on damage claims in multiple jurisdictions against the air-carriers, seeking compensation for their losses. The case at hand is one of those follow-on damage claims and was initiated before the Dutch courts by Stichting Cartel Competition, a litigation vehicle consolidating the claims and representing the interests of 266 freight customers.

Among the many complex issues which arise in the context of this dispute, the question of which law actually applies to such follow-on damage claims is particularly interesting.READ MORE


Exclusive Interview with George A. Bermann (Columbia Law School)

Dear Reader,

As this blog aims at providing fruitful and inspiring thoughts in the field of international litigation and arbitration, I thought that an innovative way to deliver those objectives would be to seek insights and reflection from prominent international litigators and arbitration practitioners.

The first person to have kindly agreed to answer my questions is Professor George A. Bermann.READ MORE


Mauritius Convention Soon to Enter into Force

On 18 October 2017, the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (the Mauritius Convention or the Convention) will enter into force. This follows Switzerland’s ratification of the Convention on 18 April 2017*.

The Mauritius Convention (which was drafted under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law – UNCITRAL) extends the applicability of the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based investor-State Arbitration (the UNCITRAL Transparency Rules), to investor-State arbitration proceedings conducted under an investment treaty concluded before 1 April 2014.READ MORE


Validity of Arbitration Clauses in Intra-EU BITs – Some Thoughts on AG Wathelet’s Opinion in Achmea (Part 2)

Without further delay, here is the second part of my analysis of Advocate General Wathelet (AG Wathelet*)’s opinion (the Opinion) in the Achmea case (check my previous post for a factual background on this case).

As previously discussed, the issue put before the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) in this case concerned the compatibility, with respect to EU law, of an arbitration clause contained in an intra-EU bilateral investment treaty (a BIT).

In the first part of my analysis, I have examined AG Wathelet’s answers to:

– the question regarding the alleged discriminatory character (contrary to Article 18 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)) of an arbitration clause contained in an intra-EU BIT; and

– the possibility for arbitral tribunals established in accordance with an intra-EU BIT to refer questions to the CJEU for preliminary rulings.

As promised in my last post, this article now covers the issue of whether an arbitration clause contained in an intra-EU BIT infringes Article 344 TFEU which prohibits EU Member States from submitting a dispute concerning the interpretation or application of EU law to any other method than those provided for in the EU treaties.READ MORE