Litigation updates

Austria

Volkswagen emissions scandal: Supreme Court refers questions to ECJ
  • Austria
  • 21 April 2020

The Supreme Court recently decided to refer certain important questions regarding the Volkswagen emission manipulation scandal to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The Supreme Court's assessment of the case and its decision to refer it to the ECJ have revealed other aspects of the scandal and opened the door for a decision by the ECJ which could alter the course of similar pending cases before national courts in Europe.

Austria, EU privacy and the ongoing Schrems v Facebook case
  • Austria
  • 10 March 2020

The Vienna Regional Court for Civil Matters recently closed the oral hearing in the data protection case brought against Facebook by European privacy group None of Your Business. During the hearing, Facebook's European privacy director faced questions centring on matters of data control regarding the social media platform. The pending decision of the court foreshadows further disputes on Europe's role in setting new standards by which internet activity is to be regulated.

Iranian inheritance law and Austrian public policy
  • Austria
  • 24 December 2019

Earlier in 2019, the Supreme Court held that in light of a bilateral treaty, the Austrian courts must apply Iranian law in inheritance matters concerning Iranian nationals. However, provisions of Iranian law that differentiate between heirs on the basis of gender must be treated as violations of the fundamental values of Austrian law and should thus be exempt from application.

Recent developments: new database and res judicata effect
  • Austria
  • 20 August 2019

There have been a number of recent legislative developments in Austria, including amendments to the Austrian Enforcement Act, which have granted certain parties access to data about pending enforcement proceedings. Further, the Supreme Court has confirmed that the res judicata effect of a foreign judgment applies at all stages of proceedings conducted in Austria.


Bahamas

At a glance: COVID-19 court protocols
Lennox Paton
  • Bahamas
  • 19 May 2020

COVID-19 has forced society to embrace all things technological and forced individuals to adapt to working remotely. As it stands, court operations before the Magistrates Court and the Supreme Court are restricted to essential services until the first working day after the expiry of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No 2) Order 2020, which may be extended by amendments. This article sets out what is permitted according to the judiciary's latest Mitigation Protocols concerning civil and commercial matters.

Supreme Court identifies its jurisdictional limits to assist in trust arbitration proceedings
  • Bahamas
  • 03 September 2019

The Supreme Court recently clarified its jurisdictional limits to assist in trust-related arbitrations, ruling that it has no such jurisdiction to allow service outside an action's jurisdiction. Given this ruling, parties to trust arbitration agreements must be cognisant that, notwithstanding whether their trust deeds provide for the seat of any arbitration to be The Bahamas, the court can provide only limited assistance where the arbitration is not held and the parties or assets are not in The Bahamas.


Belize

Video link as a means of access to justice
Courtenay Coye LLP
  • Belize
  • 30 March 2021

Traditionally, in order for persons involved in litigation in the Supreme Court to participate in such proceedings – whether as a claimant, a defendant or even a witness – they had to be present in the court. At times, this strict requirement of personal presence served as a barrier to the ultimate goal of resolving disputes through litigation where persons involved therein were unable to attend the trial in person. Notably, the Civil Procedure Rules introduced the option to give evidence through a video link.


Canada

Reference re Environmental Management Act (British Columbia): one step forward for Trans Mountain
  • Canada
  • 09 July 2019

A recent British Columbia Court of Appeal decision is significant because it has removed (for now at least) one of the barriers to the development and construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. It has also provided some clarity on the roles that the federal and provincial governments may properly play in the regulation of interprovincial pipelines and, more broadly, in the complex area of environmental regulation.

Alberta judge dismisses case against police officers on grounds of reasonable force
  • Canada
  • 02 July 2019

A Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta judge recently dismissed a case against police officers and the chief of the Edmonton Police Service in its entirety, concluding that the use of force by the defendants did not exceed what was reasonably necessary for the plaintiff's arrest. The case is significant for the court's analysis of forward-looking infrared video evidence, treatment of a prior judicial decision in related criminal proceedings and analysis of the physical force used by police officers to effect an arrest.

Throwing an egg at someone: Ontario Superior Court addresses hatching of new legal test
  • Canada
  • 25 June 2019

Imprecision in identifying the risks of driving influences how insurers assess the value of automobile insurance. A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision reminds insurers and insured persons how difficult it can be to properly assess and categorise risk at the outset of an insurance relationship; however, it offers little guidance on how the modified causation test should be applied in future cases involving projectiles from motor vehicles.


Cayman Islands

Contributed by Ogier
Court of Appeal finds that Norwich Pharmacal relief is available in aid of foreign proceedings
  • Cayman Islands
  • 22 June 2021

The Court of Appeal has found that the Cayman courts have jurisdiction to grant a Norwich Pharmacal order in support of potential proceedings before a foreign court, even where alternative statutory remedies may be available. The decision confirms a departure in Cayman law from the law in England and Wales, which is perhaps surprising in circumstances where the Norwich Pharmacal jurisdiction itself derives from a decision of the UK House of Lords.

Grand Court strikes out creditor's winding-up petition and comments on relationship with arbitration clauses
  • Cayman Islands
  • 15 June 2021

The Grand Court recently struck out a winding-up petition presented against Grand State Investments Limited by a shareholder claiming a debt on the ground that the alleged debt was disputed on bona fide and substantial grounds. In addition, the court went on to hold that, had the petition not been struck out, it would have been stayed anyway in favour of arbitration.

Frozen in time: do limitation periods apply to claims against Cayman companies in liquidation?
  • Cayman Islands
  • 08 June 2021

Previously, it was generally understood that the Cayman approach to claims against companies in liquidation followed the English position on the issue of limitation – that is, the limitation period ceased to run once the company went into liquidation, with some exceptions. However, the Grand Court recently challenged this assumption and reinterpreted the principles from the English authorities on this important point.

Approach to interest and costs in Section 238 proceedings confirmed
  • Cayman Islands
  • 01 June 2021

The Grand Court recently confirmed and clarified how interest on awards in Section 238 proceedings is to be calculated and how the costs of such proceedings are to be determined. The judgment, which will be welcomed by dissenting shareholders, clarifies that the midpoint approach is the correct methodology for determining the fair rate of interest payable in Section 238 proceedings. However, the precise midpoint will always be fact specific and is likely to be the subject of expert evidence in most cases.

Grand Court provides clarity on costs
  • Cayman Islands
  • 04 May 2021

A recent costs ruling has provided welcome clarity on the circumstances in which the Grand Court will make a costs award on the indemnity basis. A successful party can expect to recover a higher proportion of its costs when an award is made on the indemnity basis (rather than the standard basis) since only costs that are unreasonably incurred or are of an unreasonable amount will be disallowed on taxation and any doubts as to reasonableness are resolved in favour of the successful party.