All posts by James Beeton

Coronavirus mini-series – (1) package travel industry

This blog is by Christopher Fleming of 12 King’s Bench Walk. It is the first in a new mini-series considering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the international travel industry from a litigation perspective. Christopher considers the following issue:

The restrictions on travel arising from attempts to halt the spread of COVID-19 pose an existential threat to the package travel industry. What obligations do tour operators have to provide refunds or alternative arrangements following cancellations in these circumstances? Continue reading Coronavirus mini-series – (1) package travel industry

Strike out hearing in oil spill representative action

In a previous post on Jalla & Ors v Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Ors [2020] EWHC 459 (TCC), a case concerning an oil spill off the coast of Nigeria, we noted that, unusually, the litigation had been brought as a representative action under CPR Part 19.

This was commented on by the judge, who noted that there could be serious issues in respect of the requirement for all the claimants to have suffered the “same damage” (based on the Court of Appeal’s restrictive approach in Lloyd v Google LLC [2019] EWCA Civ 1599 at [73]–[81]).

These comments have now been seized upon by the Defendant, who has suggested that the claim should be struck out on a number of grounds, including that “the action is not a “representative action” because there is insufficient identity of interest between the Claimants”.

The judge in a short judgment has directed that the application for strike out will be dealt with at a hearing at the end of May 2020.

A new source of civil law rights in claims against multinationals?

In Nevsun Resources Ltd. v. Araya, 2020 SCC 5, the Supreme Court of Canada held that peremptory norms of international law could in principle be enforced against a corporate entity in a civil claim for damages. The decision – which can properly be described as groundbreaking – is well worth reading in full. Max Archer and James Beeton of 12 King’s Bench Walk consider its implications for cross-border litigation involving corporate entities in the courts of England and Wales. Continue reading A new source of civil law rights in claims against multinationals?

Foreign language witness statements: new procedural requirements

The Master of the Rolls has made the 113th update to the Practice Directions supporting the CPR. The amendments specific to foreign language witness statements are due to come into force on 6 April 2020. In this post, Sam Cuthbert, a pupil at 12 King’s Bench Walk, outlines how these amendments will affect the procedural requirements for foreign language witness statements. Continue reading Foreign language witness statements: new procedural requirements

Vedanta applied in Nigerian oil spill case

There are some interesting points in the recent decision of Stuart-Smith J in Jalla & Ors v Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Ors [2020] EWHC 459 (TCC).

This is a claim relating to an oil spill in 2011 on behalf of a very large number of individuals (in excess of 27,500) who live by or in the hinterland of a stretch of the coast of Nigeria that spans Bayelsa State and Delta State. In addition, the claim is brought on behalf of 457 villages and communities that are alleged to have been affected by the oil spill.

In general terms, the Claimants allege that responsibility for the 2011 spill lies with companies forming part of the Shell group. The Defendants deny liability on the basis, amongst other things, that no oil from the December 2011 spill reached the Claimants’ coastline or caused the damage that the Claimants allege. Continue reading Vedanta applied in Nigerian oil spill case

Court of Appeal: Sierra Leonean mining company not liable for actions of local police force

In this blog, Christopher Fleming of 12 King’s Bench Walk considers the recent decision in Kalma & Ors v African Minerals Ltd & Ors [2020] EWCA Civ 144. The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by the claimants, inhabitants of a mining town in Sierra Leone, against the dismissal of their claims against the owners and operators of the largest iron ore mine in the region for compensation for the violent acts of the local police force. It was agreed that the law of Sierra Leone could be treated as identical to that of England and Wales. The appeal dealt with such issues as the law of common design and the principles of ‘pure omissions’. The lengthy (and excellent) first instance judgment of Turner J can be found here. Continue reading Court of Appeal: Sierra Leonean mining company not liable for actions of local police force

“Territorial scope” clauses and Odenbreit: new High Court ruling

In this blog post, Spencer Turner considers the recent decision of Andrews J in Hutchinson v Mapfre España Compañia de Seguros Y Reaseguros SA and another [2020] EWHC 178 (QB). The case involved a number of important issues for cross-border practitioners:

  • The extent to which the consumer contract provisions of Brussels I (Recast) depend on a defendant’s commercial activities influencing a particular consumer’s decision to contract.
  • The so-called “Keefe” question concerning joinder of a foreign insured to a direct claim against its liability insurer.
  • And, most significantly, the impact of a ‘territorial scope’ clause in the liability insurance policy on the availability of a direct action under the Odenbreit principles.

Continue reading “Territorial scope” clauses and Odenbreit: new High Court ruling