Resource Link List #2

This is the second in a series of regular posts highlighting resources relevant to business and human rights disputes. It aims to gather, highlight and link to recent things that I think are interesting and possibly worth a click.


The Thurgood Marshall Courthouse in NYC: the Second Circuit is not exactly a flag bearer for corporate liability in international law (Photo Credit: Mattia Panciroli under Creative Commons)

  • On 29 August 2016, Judge Lettieri announced the first ever sentence imposed on a legal person by an international or hybrid tribunal €6,000. His reasoning followed early last week. The deadline for payment is 30 September 2016.
  • The Trafigura/Ivory Coast litigation is well-known. It resulted in a settlement of about £30 million. Leigh Day acted for the claimants. Unfortunately, a sizeable portion of the settlement did not reach the intended recipients. They are said to have been defrauded after money was paid into a bank account in the Ivory Coast. In June 2016, the English High Court (Andrew Smith J) held that Leigh Day had been negligent because they did not take reasonable care when making arrangements to funnel the settlement to their clients. I understand that Leigh Day have applied for permission to appeal.
  • In an earlier post about Brexit, I mentioned the English High Court (Coulson J) judgment of 27 May 2016 which rejected jurisdictional challenges by Vedanta Resources plc and its Zambian subsidiary. The case illustrates the importance of the Brussels regime on jurisdiction to business and human rights litigation in the UK. The defendant companies have since appealed. I understand that there will be a hearing before the Court of Appeal in July 2017.
  • The not-so-catchily titled “Open Ended Intergovernmental Working Group” on a treaty on business and human rights extended the deadline for submissions by one month. The new deadline, should you be inclined, is 30 September 2016.
  • I posted before about the UK Supreme Court’s decision in Jogee and the law of joint enterprise liability. This resulted in a retrial with new directions to a fresh jury. The defendant was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter. Sentencing is today (12 September 2016).
  • Earlier this year, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre published a free registry of companies’ section 54 statements under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Together with CORE they have assessed that only 6% of the statements made thus far comply with the statutory requirements – a shocking figure, if correct.
  • Ryan Goodman wrote a great overview of the mens rea of aiding and abetting liability in customary international law in the context of ongoing arms sales to Saudi Arabia and alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen.
  • CORE and the London Mining Network published a short guide to suing companies in the UK for overseas human rights violations.
  • Buzzfeed published a series of articles on alleged abuses of investor state arbitration – I’m still making my way through it.
  • On 24 August 2016, the Second Circuit issued a judgment in Licci v Lebanese Canadian Bank – a claim under the Alien Tort Statute against a Lebanese bank said to have assisted rocket attacks into Israel by facilitating finance to Hezbollah. The alleged financing involved US dollars and therefore a US-based correspondent account. The Second Circuit held that the claim was sufficiently connected to the US to displace the presumption against extraterritoriality that can otherwise preclude federal jurisdiction. However, the court went on to dismiss the claim on the basis that customary international law does not recognise corporate liability – thereby following previous and somewhat controversial Second Circuit rulings in the Kiobel I (2010) and Arab Bank (earlier this year) cases

More in a couple of weeks!

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