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Europe

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The expansion of opt-out class actions in the UK continues with certification of claims aimed at recovering for alleged systemic abuses of dominance across the south east and west rail networks. The judgment reinforces that certification will be viewed as only a first step in class litigation in the UK – as opposed to the immediate precursor to settlement that it can signify in the US and Canada – and reinforces the likelihood that claimant…

In a judgment handed down this week by its Grand Chamber, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) decided that, under certain circumstances, a subsidiary can be held liable for cartel activity engaged by its parent company. This judgment has potentially far-reaching consequences and may give an additional impetus to private damages litigation. Background On 24 October 2019, Sumal (an alleged victim of the Trucks cartel) brought a claim for damages in follow-on litigation in front of…

In 2021, a new law concerning civil proceedings became effective in Poland. The new law introduced, among other things, three major changes that will impact the proceedings. The online service of court documents during proceedings and online hearings as default are new and have been forced by the Covid-19 pandemic and will last for its duration. They are aimed at facilitating safe communication between the court and the parties to the proceedings. The third change…

A recent judgment by the German Federal Court of Justice paves the way for forum shopping in abuse of dominance cases[1]. Following the European Court of Justice’s Wikingerhof decision, the Federal Court of Justice has clarified that tort jurisdiction may apply even if the conduct in dispute is covered by contractual provisions. In addition, the Federal Court of Justice has confirmed the restrictive interpretation of generic choice-of-forum clauses of the sort that is often found…

Introduction A lot has been said and written about the Wirecard scandal in Germany. Books and scholarly articles have been published, movies about the case are blockbusters in theatres. Therefore, just briefly here: Wirecard was the poster child start-up company in Germany, active as an (online) payment service provider. The German federal government lobbied for Wirecard with its international counterparts. In summer 2019, Wirecard publically announced that an amount of approx. EUR 2 billion on its…

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT or “Tribunal”) has certified the first opt-out collective action since the UK class actions regime was introduced in 2015. The application had been dismissed on first consideration but after a series of appeals that went all the way to the Supreme Court, Walter Merricks CBE has been granted a Collective Proceedings Order (CPO) in his GBP 14 billion claim on interchange fees. The size and complexity of the claims…

In brief ESG is an acronym for environment, social and (corporate) governance – factors considered originally (and separately) to be a measure of an organisation’s corporate social responsibility, and which are becoming increasingly important in determining its financial and general success. ESG encapsulates a broad range of issues including (but by no means limited to) sustainability, corporate ethics, human rights, social good, climate change and corporate culture. Why is ESG important? The broadness of the…

ESG (environment, social and corporate governance) issues, including human rights, have increasingly become a board level concern as the trend towards stakeholder capitalism and regulatory intervention on the topic has grown. Actions to impose statutory responsibilities on directors, to introduce programmes on specific issues (such as forced labour and conflict minerals), to mandate disclosure and transparency, and to threaten the corporate licence to operate through sanctions or restrictions on procurement, have all contributed to an…

In brief The European Commission (EC), on 30 June 2021, proposed reforms to the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) in the form of a Regulation, intended to safeguard consumers (see here) (“Proposal”). The Proposal makes substantial amendments to the GPSD, which has been in place for the last 20 years, seek to increase the protection offered to EU consumers in respect of products they purchase, both in store and online, whilst also addressing challenges posed by…

One of the most significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the administration of justice has been the shift to virtual hearings and mediations. In mid-2020, Baker McKenzie and KPMG UK surveyed civil and commercial court users to explore their experience and perceptions of virtual hearings and mediations and to help answer a key question: are virtual hearings and mediations here to stay? 70% of the participants said they would prefer to have virtual interim…