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international litigation blog

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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Singapore Passes Legislation on Third Party Funding and Mediation

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

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

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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American Bar Association Publishes Opinion on Investment Court System

On 14 October 2016, the Investment Treaty Working Group of the American Bar Association (ABA) published a report (the Report) on the European proposal for an Investment Court System.

As most of you know, the proposal for an Investment Court System emanates from the European Union and aims at replacing the traditional Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanisms (ISDS). The Investment Court System finds its roots in a public consultation initiated by the European Commission on ISDS in the context of the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). At the time, the European Commission received nearly 150,000 responses, an overwhelming majority of which opposed the traditional ISDS mechanisms that were being contemplated during the TTIP negotiations. Most criticisms viewed the traditional ISDS mechanisms as a threat to democracy, to public policy, to public finance and to the sovereign’s right to regulate. Many also expressed concerns on the independence and impartiality of arbitrators.

In response to those criticisms, the European Commission formulated, in September 2015, a concrete proposal for a new Investment Court System.

While the European Union is currently working on the implementation of the Investment Court System and has recently launched a public consultation on the topic (responses are due by 15 March 2017), I thought it interesting to discuss the views that the ABA expressed on this new international court system.READ MORE

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U.S. Supreme Court to Rule on Various Issues in the Field of International Litigation and Arbitration

The United States Supreme Court (the Supreme Court) will likely be placed in the spotlight in the next couple of weeks, as the new U.S. President Donald Trump will soon have the opportunity to appoint a nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share with you an overview and a short discussion on a series of cases in the field of international litigation and arbitration that have recently been granted certiorari by the Supreme Court and that are likely to draw the attention of arbitration and international litigation practitioners.READ MORE

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