AAA & ORS v (1) UNILEVER PLC (2) UNILEVER TEA KENYA LTD (2018) [2018] EWCA Civ 1532: the corporate veil remains a tightly woven garment

This blog is by Lois Aldred of 12 King’s Bench Walk.

The Court of Appeal recently handed down its judgment in AAA & Others v Unilever PLC and Unilever Tea Kenya Limited. This is the latest in a series of Court of Appeal considerations of the extent of corporate liability of parent companies for acts or omissions pertaining to the operations of subsidiaries.

The Claimants were employees of Unilever Tea Kenya Limited (‘UTKL’) who lived and worked on UTKL’s tea plantation in the southern Rift Valley of Kenya.  They claimed against both Unilever and UTKL in tort for failing to protect them from the harm they suffered as a result of inter-tribal violence in the immediate aftermath of the 2007 Kenyan presidential election.  Continue reading “AAA & ORS v (1) UNILEVER PLC (2) UNILEVER TEA KENYA LTD (2018) [2018] EWCA Civ 1532: the corporate veil remains a tightly woven garment”

Novus Actus – Risk vs. Inconvenience – Philip Clay v TUI UK Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ

Mark Fanning of Miles Fanning Legal writes, in this guest blog, about his recent success in Philip Clay v TUI UK Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ where Ronald Walker QC of 12 King’s Bench Walk and Mark Fanning represented the Respondent.

The Court of Appeal gave judgment in favour of the Respondent in an interesting case considering the liability of a tour operator under the Package Travel, Package Holidays, and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (the “Package Travel Regulations”) for injury to the Appellant after a balcony fall. Continue reading “Novus Actus – Risk vs. Inconvenience – Philip Clay v TUI UK Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ”

Quantifying damages for human rights abuses by the MoD in Iraq (1) Alseran (2) Al-Waheed (3) MRE (4) KSU v Ministry of Defence [2017] EWHC 3289 (QB): aka Iraqi Civilian Litigation

This interesting blog post by Helen Waller a pupil barrister at 12 King’s Bench Walk considers in depth the legal analysis in the Iraqi Civilian Litigation. Continue reading “Quantifying damages for human rights abuses by the MoD in Iraq (1) Alseran (2) Al-Waheed (3) MRE (4) KSU v Ministry of Defence [2017] EWHC 3289 (QB): aka Iraqi Civilian Litigation”

Lungowe & Ors v Vedanta Resources Plc v Konkola Copper Mines Plc [2017] EWCA Civ 1528: Anchoring defendants, and suing the parent for the sins of their subsidiaries

This blog is by John-Paul Swoboda of 12 King’s Bench Walk.

Chandler v Cape [2012] EWCA Civ 525 was described in the Economist as “A little-noticed court case with big implications”[1]. That was because it was the first time a parent company had successfully been sued for, as the Economist put it, the sins of their subsidiary. The prediction that there would be big implications appears, with the Lungowe case, to be coming to pass. The Lungowe case concerns 1,800 claimants, all of them Zambians alleging personal injury and property damage in Zambia whilst in the employment of a Zambian company (‘KCM’) due to an alleged toxic discharge from KCM’s mine into the water table. In other words, the Lungowe case concerns the export of huge group litigation, from a country with little access to justice, to the English Courts. The export of this group litigation was made possible, in this author’s opinion, by the Court of Appeal’s decision in Chandler and the European Court of Justice’s decision in Owusu v Jackson (Case C-281/02) [2005] QB 801 which allows claimants to anchor jurisdiction in English courts where one of the proposed defendants is domiciled in England. In this case the first defendant or ‘Vedanta’ was the anchoring defendant and the parent company of KCM. Continue reading “Lungowe & Ors v Vedanta Resources Plc v Konkola Copper Mines Plc [2017] EWCA Civ 1528: Anchoring defendants, and suing the parent for the sins of their subsidiaries”

MIDTOWN ACQUISITIONS LP V ESSAR GLOBAL FUND LTD [2017] EWHC 519 – ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENTS

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck… In this blog post, Patrick Vincent of 12 King’s Bench Walk looks at a recent attempt to escape enforcement of a New York judgment in England on various grounds.

The Claimant obtained two judgments for a total of US$587m in the courts of New York. It did so pursuant to Rule 3218 of the New York Civil Practice Law & Rules (“CPLR”). That rule enables a claimant to enter judgment against a defendant who has “confessed to judgment” by affidavit (“a judgment by confession”), without an action being brought or notice being given. The Defendant had signed such affidavits in the course of negotiating its liabilities to the Claimant.

The English court hearing in front of Teare J determined (i) the Defendant’s challenge to jurisdiction (ii) the Claimant’s application for summary judgment in its action upon one of the New York judgments and (iii) the Defendant’s application for any judgment to be stayed. The applications were heard together by consent. Continue reading “MIDTOWN ACQUISITIONS LP V ESSAR GLOBAL FUND LTD [2017] EWHC 519 – ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENTS”

AAA and others v Unilever Plc and Unilever Tea Kenya Ltd [2017] EWHC 371 (QB); international personal injury & justiciability

In this post, Philip Mead of 12 King’s Bench Walk considers the third decision in a series of African cases where complex group action personal injury claims have been sought to be litigated in the English Courts, following Lungowe v Vedanta Resources Plc [2016] EWHC 975 (TCC) (heard by Coulson J) and Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell [2017] EWHC 89 (TCC) (heard by Fraser J). Continue reading “AAA and others v Unilever Plc and Unilever Tea Kenya Ltd [2017] EWHC 371 (QB); international personal injury & justiciability”

His Royal Highness Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Lucky Alame v Royal Dutch Shell Plc [2017] EWHC 89 (TCC); Jurisdiction and international environmental group actions

This post is by Aliyah Akram of 12 King’s Bench Walk. 

The case involved 42,500 residents of the Niger Delta, from two different communities, who sought to bring a claim in the High Court for damages arising from environmental pollution caused by, they alleged, oil spills from the Defendants’ pipelines.

The claim was brought against two defendants.  Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (“SPDC”), the Shell company responsible for the oil operations and Royal Dutch Shell (“RDS”) its ultimate parent company.   Continue reading “His Royal Highness Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Lucky Alame v Royal Dutch Shell Plc [2017] EWHC 89 (TCC); Jurisdiction and international environmental group actions”

Gunn & others v Diaz & others [2017] EWHC 157 (QB) – service out of the jurisdiction

This blog is by Patrick Vincent of 12 King’s Bench Walk

This was a decision of Mrs Justice Andrews in a catastrophic personal injury claim.The point decided was whether to accede to one of the Defendants’ applications to set aside an order permitting service upon it out of the jurisdiction.

Superficially the point is a short one, but the detailed judgment deals with several important issues of law and procedure relevant to international claims, and particularly international person injury claims, including:-

  • The duties on a party making a without notice application to serve out of the jurisdiction, or to extend time for service.
  • The availability of the jurisdictional “gateways” set out in the Practice Direction 6BPD3.
  • The proper characterisation of claims brought against foreign insurers.

Continue reading “Gunn & others v Diaz & others [2017] EWHC 157 (QB) – service out of the jurisdiction”

PHP v Tobacco Carib Sarl v BAT Caribbean SA [2016] EWHC 3377 (Comm): Brussels Recast & third party claims

This blog is by Max Archer of 12 King’s Bench Walk.

 

The claimant in this case was French company engaged in importing tobacco products to Guadeloupe and Martinique. The defendant was Panamanian company within the wider BAT corporate group.

The claimant had a five-year distribution agreement with the defendant. The agreement provided for English law and exclusive jurisdiction. This agreement came to an end without any further agreement to renew it.

The claimant commenced English proceedings in pursuit of what it claimed was a ‘margin pay-out’ of €6.5 million. It was claimed that it was entitled to this pay-out pursuant to the agreement as a result of the failure to renew. The defendant denied any entitlement to a pay-out and counterclaimed for numerous unpaid invoices and for €8.5 million of VAT recovered from the French VAT authorities. The Defendant argued that it was to be paid these VAT monies pursuant to an oral agreement.

The claimant denied these allegations and alleged that there was no enforceable agreement. The claimant argued that the agreement in respect of the VAT monies did not lie with itself but with the other group companies (the proposed third and fourth defendants). These companies had been subcontracted to carry out distribution in the relevant territories and had recovered the VAT monies themselves. Continue reading “PHP v Tobacco Carib Sarl v BAT Caribbean SA [2016] EWHC 3377 (Comm): Brussels Recast & third party claims”