The International Law and Politics of the Financial and Monetary System
Standards, Contracts and Codes
Edited by Marta Cantero Gamito and Hans -W. Micklitz
Edited by Jorge L. Fabra-Zamora
Edited by Jorge L. Fabra-Zamora
International, European and National Challenges
Edited by Lukasz Gruszczynski
François-Xavier Licari, Sandrine Brachotte and Nathalie Najjar
Are arbitrators employees for the purpose of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations, 2003? This is an unlikely question to open a debate about the role of religious norms in the global sphere! Yet it arose in the context of an international commercial contract with a religious arbitration clause, triggering controversy not only within the arbitration community (which feared the potential fiscal and other consequences of a legal characterisation of arbitration as employment) but also far beyond. In a world where religious norms are gaining (or regaining) increasing prominence, how exactly do our multiple belief systems fit with global economic governance by contract? The case arises from a joint venture agreement between Mr. Jivraj and Mr. Hashwani, that contained the controversial arbitration clause. It provided that any dispute between the parties should be resolved by arbitration before three arbitrators, all of whom should be ‘respected members of the Ismaili community’ (a religious community comprised of Shia Ismaili Muslims). The parties terminated their joint venture agreement in 1988 (seven years after its inception) and appointed three Ismaili arbitrators to assist them in dividing the joint venture assets. However, as the panel was unable to resolve all the issues between the parties, they remained in dispute for some years. In 2008, Mr. Hashwani initiated another arbitration and appointed Sir Anthony Colman as an arbitrator, despite the fact that he was not a member of the Ismaili community.
Horatia Muir Watt
When the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. (LBHI) produced shockwaves throughout the global financial market and calls for regulation of systemic risk, the role of private international law was hardly a central preoccupation with either financial institutions or the general public. It is well known that Lehman’s over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives portfolio (containing over 900,000 OTC derivatives transactions) was governed by the default provisions of the ISDA Master Agreement. On the terrain of private law, the question arose in the aftermath of the crisis as to whether the Master Agreement played any meaningful role in Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy and its catastrophic outcome and more generally whether a modification of its terms could reduce the systemic risk associated with derivatives transactions. In respect of the transnational dimension of the Agreement, a more theoretical debate concerned the extent to which attempts to create global certainty by the financial industry through the use of standardised agreements could be seen as a present-day renewal of the lex mercatoria. Might privately created norms provide an alternative frame of reference for the governance of contracts concluded in global financial markets? In such a perspective, the interference of divergent local laws was seen to thwart the operation of uniform contractual terms. However, the presence of a conflict of laws in relation to the interpretation of the ISDA Master Agreement also suggests that private international law plays an essential role in constituting the rules of the game against the backdrop of which the Master Agreement is given legal effect.
Patrick Kinsch, Chris Thomale and Fabien Marchadier
Kiobel is a landmark decision, handed down by the United States Supreme Court in 2013, in the field of jurisdiction for corporate human rights violations. The claims here were brought under the Alien Tort Statute, by Esther Kiobel and other Nigerian nationals, in a putative class action against The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria and other related entities before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. It was alleged that the respondents, while operating oil production facilities in the Ogoniland region of the Niger Delta between 1992, were complicit with the Nigerian government’s human rights abuses. The crimes consisted of murder, torture, unlawful detention, expropriation and exile of the group of petitioners and their relatives. The District Court dismissed the claims. Both parties cross-appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The question was whether civil liability could be attached to corporations under the law of nations for the purposes of the Alien Tort Statute, which provides that ‘the district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.’ On 17 September 2010, the Second Circuit found that claims could not be brought against corporations under the Alien Tort Statute. The petitioners asked the Supreme Court to grant a review of the Second Circuit’s decision. Oral arguments were held on 28 February 2012.