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international litigation blog

Personal Thoughts on Admissibility of Third Party Opposition Against Arbitral Awards

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I wanted to share with you some general personal thoughts regarding the recent decision of the Belgian Constitutional Court (the Constitutional Court) holding that third parties should be entitled to lodge third party opposition (tierce opposition) against arbitral awards.

As we discussed before, the Constitutional Court ruled that Article 1122 of the Belgian Judicial Code violated Articles 10 and 11 of the Belgian Constitution (i.e. the provisions of the Belgian Constitution on equality and non-discrimination), as this provision allowed third parties to challenge the validity of judgments rendered by a civil or a criminal court by means of third party opposition but did not offer third parties the same possibility to challenge arbitral proceedings.

According to its current reading, third party opposition under Article 1122 of the Belgian Judicial Code aims at bringing the parties back (for new proceedings) before the same judge who previously ruled on the case in the absence of the third party. Until the decision of the Constitutional Court of 16 February 2017, however, this solution applied to judicial proceedings only.

However, now that the Constitutional Court has found that this possibility should also be offered to third parties to arbitral proceedings, does this mean that new arbitral proceedings (in the presence of the third party) will have to take place before the initial arbitrators in the event that a third party files a third party opposition?READ MORE

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France Amends Rules on State Immunity from the Execution of Judgments and Arbitral Awards

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On 9 December 2016, the French Parliament adopted a law (the Law) which amended the rules on State immunity from the execution of judgments and arbitral awards contained in Article L 111-1 of the French Code on Civil Enforcement Procedures (Article L 111-1). The Law now makes it more difficult for a creditor to enforce, in France, a judgment or an arbitral award on goods belonging to a foreign State.READ MORE

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Kiobel Returns before Dutch Courts Seeking Application of Section 1782

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Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) is currently having a tough time defending itself in court: A few days ago, we discussed the recent judgment from the English High Court that dismissed a claim brought against Shell for oil pollution in Nigeria. This time we discuss a decision by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York (the S.D.N.Y) which granted a petition to access documents in the possession of Shell’s lawyers for use in legal proceedings against Shell in the Netherlands.READ MORE

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Court of Justice of the EU Holds that National Courts Have Jurisdiction to Block Sales on Foreign Websites

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On 21 December 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) delivered an interesting judgment in Concurrence SARL v. Samsung Electronics France and Amazon Services Europe SARL on the interpretation of Article 5(3) of Regulation 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Brussels I Regulation).

Article 5(3) of the Brussels I Regulation provides that, in matters relating to tort, a person domiciled in an EU Member State may, in another EU Member State, be sued “in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur“.

The CJEU delivered the judgment in response to a question referred for a preliminary ruling by the French Supreme Court in proceedings between, on the one hand, Concurrence SARL (Concurrence) and, on the other hand, Samsung Electronics France SAS (Samsung) and Amazon Services Europe SARL (Amazon).READ MORE

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English High Court Rules on Claims Brought by Foreign Plaintiffs, Against Foreign Defendant, for Conduct Outside the U.K.

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On 26 January 2017, the English High Court (the Court) rendered a very interesting judgment on the possibility for foreign plaintiffs to rely on a U.K.-based company’s duty of care vis-à-vis its foreign subsidiaries in order to assert the jurisdiction of U.K. courts over acts committed outside the U.K. by those subsidiaries.

In the case at hand, members of local Nigerian communities brought legal proceedings before U.K. courts seeking recovery for oil pollution allegedly caused by a Nigerian subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell (Shell Petroleum Development CompanySPDC) in the Niger Delta.READ MORE

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Belgian Constitutional Court Rules Third Party Opposition Against Arbitral Awards Admissible

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On 16 February 2017, the Belgian Constitutional Court (the Constitutional Court) held that third parties should be entitled to lodge third party opposition (tierce opposition) against arbitral awards.

This judgment arose following an arbitral award given in 2012. A company that was not a party to the arbitration proceedings but nevertheless felt aggrieved by the award initiated third party proceedings before the Brussels Court of First Instance seeking the annulment of the award. Uncertain as to whether the relevant provisions of the Belgian Judicial Code allowed a third party to stage such proceedings, the Brussels Court of First Instance stayed the proceedings and referred the matter to the Constitutional Court for a preliminary ruling.READ MORE

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