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international litigation blog

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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U.K. Supreme Court Rules on State Immunity and (Crown) Act of State Doctrines

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On 17 January 2017, the U.K. Supreme Court (the Supreme Court) handed down three exceptionally significant decisions on allegedly tortious acts done by British Armed Forces in the context of overseas military operations or by government officials alleged to have been complicit in the wrongful acts done by foreign States. Each of the three decisions dealt with important questions of law such as State immunity, the “Foreign Act of State” doctrine, the “Crown Act of State” doctrine as well as the compatibility of overseas detentions with Article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

The three decisions at issue are: (i) Rahmatullah (No 2) e.a. v. Ministry of Defence; (ii) Al-Waheed and Serdar Mohammed v. Ministry of Defence; and (iii) Belhaj e.a. v. Straw e.a.READ MORE

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Singapore Passes Legislation on Third Party Funding and Mediation

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On 10 January 2017, Singapore’s Parliament made further strides in securing Singapore’s place as a leading global hub for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by passing two pieces of legislation: (i) amendments to its Civil Law Act legalizing third party funding in international arbitration proceedings; and (ii) a mediation bill (the Mediation Bill).READ MORE

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Potential Implications of AG Sharpston’s Opinion 2/15 on Investment Court System

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As mentioned in one of my previous post, the European Union (the EU) has proposed the establishment of a permanent Investment Court System (ICS) as a means to respond to the criticisms against the traditional Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms. The main elements of the reform suggested by the EU Commission are the following: (i) a permanent court composed of a first instance Tribunal and an Appeal Tribunal; (ii) publicly appointed judges; and (iii) publicly-held proceedings and a right to intervene for parties with an interest in the dispute.

On 21 December 2016, Advocate General Sharpston (AG Sharpston)* handed down a reasoned opinion (the Opinion) on the allocation of competences between the EU and its Member States for the conclusion of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (the EUSFTA). Although the Opinion is not directly related to the issue of the ICS, it can potentially have implications on the establishment and development of this new multilateral international court (in particular the question of “who may establish the ICS“).READ MORE

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European Cross-Border Debt Recovery: European Account Preservation Order Procedure Enters into Force

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On 18 January 2017, Regulation 655/2014 of 15 May 2014 establishing a European Account Preservation Order procedure to facilitate cross-border debt recovery in civil and commercial matters (the EAPO Regulation) entered into force.

The EAPO Regulation allows a creditor, domiciled in one Member State, to request the courts of a Member State to issue a European Account Preservation Order (the EAPO). This order preserves the funds held by a debtor in a bank account located in another Member State and prevents a debtor from jeopardising the creditor’s claim by transferring or withdrawing those funds.READ MORE

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