Uncategorized Archives - international litigation blog
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Uncategorized

EFTA Surveillance Authority Gives Green Light to Arbitration-Set Energy Price

On 10 September 2019, the EFTA Surveillance Authority (the ESA)* handed down a decision where it ruled that energy prices, set in an arbitral award, which a private company had to pay to the Icelandic State-owned energy producer did not amount to State aid.

In the case at hand, a dispute had arisen between Elkem Iceland (Elkem), a ferrosilicon producer, and Landsvirkjun (Landsvirkjun), the Icelandic state-owned energy producer, concerning the price to be paid by Elkem to Landsvirkjun for energy supply.

Pursuant to the contract between Elkem and Landsvirkjun, the dispute was referred to arbitration.

In May 2019, the arbitral tribunal handed down its award in which the tribunal set the energy price to be paid by Elkem to Landsvirkjun.

However, concerned that such an arbitration-set energy price could amount to State aid, Iceland notified the arbitral award to the ESA for an assessment with State aid rules.READ MORE

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Compliance with Labour Obligations Under EU-Korea FTA’s Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter

By Thibaud Bodson – PhD candidate at the Human Rights Under Pressure program –  Freie Universität Berlin & Hebrew University of Jerusalem

On 4 July 2019, the European Commission (the EU Commission) triggered the second stage of the dispute settlement procedure against the Republic of South Korea in a case on compliance with labour obligations under Chapter 13 of the EU-Korea FTA. While the first stage, already discussed in a previous post, pertained to consultations between both parties, the second stage provides for the settlement of the dispute by a Panel of Experts.READ MORE

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The Netherlands Amends and Broadens its Legal Framework on Collective Claims

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

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

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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European Parliament Amends Proposal for Directive on Collective Representative Actions

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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Belgian Parliament Amends Bill Establishing Brussels International Business Court

On 10 December 2018, the Commission for Justice of the Belgian Parliament published a second draft bill (the Bill) for the creation of the Brussels International Business Court (the BIBC). The Belgian government had already approved a first draft in October 2017 and submitted it to Parliament in May 2018. The Bill now aims to reflect the opinions expressed by the Belgian Council of State and of the High Council of Justice (Hoge Raad voor de Justitie/Conseil supérieur de la Justice), as well as the amendments suggested by various members of the Parliament. This being said, the key features of the BIBC remain largely unchanged.READ MORE

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