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international litigation blog

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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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