A few thoughts on the study for the European Parliament re litigating CSR in the EU.

As I turn to preparations for a talk on CSR litigation and conflict of laws, Thursday next (11 April) in Cork, (which incidentally will be a day after the UKSC will deliver its verdict in Vedanta), I was consulting the report made for the European Parliament on the issue of access to legal remedies for the victims of corporate human rights abuses.

A few supplementary thoughts, fed also by an upcoming chapter of mine in an edited volume for OUP.

The report does an excellent job at collating much of the relevant case-law in a variety of countries: there is no better way to appreciate the difficulties than to consider the law in action. Despite the efforts of the team, particularly for the UK a few important cases were not included: Bento Rodriguez, Gemfield, Kalma, Garcia v Total.

The report flags the absence of forum non conveniens in Brussels I but omits the important forum non-type mechanism of Brussels Ia: Articles 33-34. This is likely to be important for the future application of CSR cases in the EU.

Analysis of KIK could have focused on the problematic qualification of statutes of limitation under Rome II. (Particularly as the report seeks to make recommendations to the EP and the EU Institutions as a whole).

The often missed elephant in the conflicts room of lex causae for veil-piercing and /or allocating duty of care. Lex fori? Lex causea? Lex societatis (e.g. for the Shell cases in the UK).

The suggestions under 6.2.2 for a forum necessitatis were in fact discussed in the review of Brussels I and it was Parliament at the time which (not unjustifiably) rejected it.

Ordre public considerations would be served well by final completion and release by the EC of its report on the use of ordre public in the EU: the report would have been a good reminder.

Finally in discussing access to justice issues no mention is made of the role of third party financing: this essentially enables much of this type of litigation yet is often seen by many in the CSR community as suspicious.

All in all the conflicts-related recommendations of the report ought to have been fine-tuned: I hope the above is of some service.

Geert.

(Handbook of) EU private international law, 2nd ed. 2016, Chapter 8.

 

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