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Uncategorized

Political Agreement to Make Cross-Border European Justice Faster and More Accessible in Civil and Commercial Matters

On 30 June 2020, the European Parliament (the EP) and the Council of the European Union (the Council) reached an agreement to amend Council Regulation (EC) No 1206/2001 on cooperation between the courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters (the Taking of Evidence Regulation) and Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (the Service of Documents Regulation) (together the Regulations).

The amendments to those Regulations aim to make cross-border European justice more accessible, faster, cheaper and more straightforward, in particular by increasing legal certainty and decreasing judicial delays and undue costs for citizens.READ MORE

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European Parliament and Council Reach Political Agreement on EU Collective Representative Actions

On 22 June 2020, the European Parliament (the EP) announced that it reached a political agreement with the Council of the European Union (the Council) on the final text of the Directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers (the Collective Representative Actions Directive) (See here, here and here). This agreement is the result of interinstitutional negotiations that started on 9 January 2020.

The Collective Representative Actions Directive will introduce harmonised rules that aim to facilitate redress for consumers in case of widespread infringements of their rights in more than one EU Member State, while at the same time provide safeguards against abusive recourses. Collective representative actions will enable consumers to seek redress in a wide range of areas such as general consumer law, data protection, financial services, travel and tourism, energy, telecommunications, environment and health or train passenger rights.READ MORE

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WTO and Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement: Searching for Right Medicine

By Thibaud Bodson – PhD candidate at the Human Rights Under Pressure program – Freie Universität Berlin & Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors only.

A group of World Trade Organisation’s members recently endorsed the Multi-party interim appeal arbitration arrangement. This arrangement aims to keep a two-tier adjudication system operating as long as the WTO’s Appellate Body is stalled. As such, it offers a short term fix to the jurisdictional arm whilst the membership tries to move ahead in its search for the right medicine. This blogpost discusses some of the arrangement’s main features.READ MORE

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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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