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Uncategorized

ECtHR Rules on Impartiality of Turkish Arbitration Proceedings for Settling Football Disputes

On 28 January 2020, the European Court of Human Rights (the ECtHR) ruled that Turkish arbitration rules applicable to the settlement of football disputes were incompatible with Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention of Human Rights (the ECHR).

The case originated in five applications against Turkey lodged by Ali Rıza, (a dual British and Turkish citizen), and four Turkish nationals: one football referee (downgraded from top-level assistant referee to “provincial referee”) and three amateur football players (found guilty of match-fixing charges).

All five applicants complained that the proceedings before the legal committees of the Turkish Football Federation (the TFF) had not satisfied the requirements of independence and impartiality under Article 6 § 1 ECHR.READ MORE

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Proposal for Directive on Collective Representation Actions Enters Interinstitutional Negotiations

On 9 January 2020, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (the EP) decided to open interinstitutional negotiations with representatives of the Council of the European Union (the Council of the EU) and of the European Commission in order to reach a compromise on the conclusion of a Directive repealing Directive 2009/22/EC as regards representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers (the Directive Proposal). As discussed before (here and here), the Directive Proposal aims to facilitate redress for consumers if there are widespread infringements of their rights in more than one EU Member State.

The Directive Proposal was initially approved in first reading by the EP in March 2019. On 28 November 2019, the Council also agreed on a general approach as regards to the Directive Proposal.

Following the decision of the Legal Affairs Committee of the EP’s, the EU institutions will now cooperate with a view to reconcile their positions in order to adopt the Directive Proposal without having to enter into a second reading process.

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ISDS Reform: Designing Permanent Institutions at Working Group III

Last week, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group III (WGIII) turned squarely to designing permanent adjudicative institutions for the resolution of investment disputes. As readers of this blog may be aware, WGIII is charged with developing multilateral reforms to the current ad hoc system of investor-state dispute resolution (ISDS). This government-led process involves delegations from around a hundred States, with active participation by dozens of observer delegations from international organizations, arbitral institutions, NGOs, business associations, and learned societies. Beginning in WGIII’s 34th Session in 2017, this work has continued through biannual sessions in Vienna and New York. From 2017 to 2018, delegations registered substantial concerns with ISDS, relating to fragmented arbitral outcomes; arbitrator independence, impartiality, and diversity; duration and cost; multiple proceedings; and third-party funding (Phase 1). In the fall of 2018, WGIII decided to work multilaterally to reform such concerns within UNCITRAL (Phase 2). As of its 37th Session in 2019, WGIII has moved firmly into working on concrete reform options (Phase 3) (discussed here).

WGIII’s 38th Session in Vienna marked a key transition into detailed discussion of reform options. Meeting initially in October 2019, the WGIII held discussions on a series of reform options according to a pre-determined project schedule. This work was grounded in proposals by over forty-five governments, across twenty-three submissions (here); complemented by several Secretariat papers; submissions by observer delegations (here); and concept papers by the Academic Forum on ISDS Reform (here). In this initial meeting, WGIII focused on (i) developing a multilateral advisory center; (ii) a code of conduct; and (iii) reforms to third-party funding (discussed here). Discussions centered on high level values, trade-offs and prioritization, with the goal of guiding the Secretariat as it turns to developing more concrete reform options.

Resuming its 38th Session in Vienna last week (January 2020), WGIII turned squarely to designing permanent institutions: (iv) a standing appellate mechanism; and (v) a multilateral investment court (MIC); as well as the cross-cutting question of (vi) selecting and appointing adjudicators. As with the discussions last fall, the goal was to discuss each reform option at a high level, to provide guidance to the Secretariat. The Working Group is not yet taking firm decisions on the desirability or ultimate form of any reforms, although some States are already revealing their preferences. Later this year, WGIII will develop a new project schedule and begin circling back to each topic, seriatim, with the benefit of new responsive work by the Secretariat, the Academic Forum, and other organizations (such as the OECD, ICSID, the PCA, and several NGOs).READ MORE

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EU Council Revises and Approves Proposal for Directive on Collective Representative Actions

On 28 November 2019, the Council of the European Union (the Council) revised and approved the proposal for a Directive (the Draft Directive) on collective representation actions for the protection of collective interests of consumers.

The Draft Directive was initially proposed by the European Commission in April 2018 and was then examined, in first reading, by the European Parliament (the EP).

The Draft Directive aims to empower qualified entities, such as consumer organisations, to seek, in addition to injunctions, redress measures, including compensation or replacement, on behalf of a group of consumers that has been harmed by a trader in areas such as data protection, financial services, travel and tourism, energy or telecommunications.READ MORE

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Cross-Border Debt Recovery: CJEU Rules on European Account Preservation Order Procedure

On 7 November 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) handed down a judgment in which it ruled that if a creditor wishes to rely on an order for payment in order to benefit from the European Account Preservation Order (EAPO) procedure against a debtor, this order for payment must be enforceable under the relevant domestic law.READ MORE

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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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