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Law firm, NGOs, union say UK Govt proposal to European Commission re ruling by EU court would prevent overseas victims of corporate abuse obtaining access to justice in EU

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12 January 2010

Submission to European Commission regarding Brussels I Regulation (EC 44/2001)

Author: CORE Coalition

CORE, Leigh Day & Co, The TUC, Amnesty International, Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID), One World Action, Global Witness and The Cornerhouse wrote to the European Commission, raising concerns regarding the UK Government’s position in relation to the European Court of Justice ruling in Owusu v Jackson…CORE believe any reversal of the Owusu ruling would be a significant step back for corporate accountability. This ruling has been essential in enabling justice to be carried out in relation to such cases such as those against Trafigura, BP (Colombia) and Monterrico (Peru); unimpeded by the enormous delay, cost and aggravation experienced in the cases against eg Cape PLC (5 years spent on fnc, during which time 1000 claimants died).

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1 January 2010

[PDF] Review of the Brussels I Regulation

Author: CORE Coalition, Leigh Day & Co, The TUC, Amnesty International, Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID), One World Action, Global Witness and The Cornerhouse

...[I]n March 2007, the European Parliament passed a resolution on Corporate Social Responsibility...This submission...is prompted in particular by the submission of the Ministry of Justice of the UK...[whose] proposal is, in effect, an attempt to turn back the clock and reintroduce into the Brussels I Regulation the doctrine of forum non conveniens, or some equivalent mechanism, effectively reversing the decision of the European Court of Justice in Owusu v Jackson...Our experience...leads us vigorously to oppose the Ministry’s suggestion...[A] reversal of [the Owusu] decision...would, in particular, seriously impact on the ability of overseas human rights victims to obtain access to justice in the European Union against multinationals domiciled in the EU. [refers to cases against BP, Cape PLC, Monterrico Metals (part of Zijin), RTZ Corporation (now Rio Tinto), Thor Chemicals, Trafigura]

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3 November 2009

[PDF] Review of the Brussels I Regulation (EC 44/2001) - Comments from the United Kingdom [scroll to para. 12-15]

Author: UK Ministry of Justice

The United Kingdom regrets the inflexibility inherent in the ECJ’s decision in Owusu v. Jackson. It has to a great extent disabled our valuable procedural mechanism of forum non conveniens which facilitates the transfer of cases which would be more appropriately dealt with by the courts in another jurisdiction. We consider it important that some suitable transfer mechanism should be introduced into the Regulation to operate in situations where a Member State court has assumed jurisdiction under the Regulation, but where no court in any other Member State is able to do so.

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