Brexit and business and human rights litigation in England

By Anil Yilmaz Vastardis

In the wake of the UK’s EU membership referendum result, people from all walks of life are wondering what will happen next. While a big uncertainty looms over the political questions surrounding the process of the UK’s exit from the EU, the repercussions go far beyond the UK – and  some of those wondering “what next” are likely overseas victims of human rights abuses by British corporations. The question remains as to what happens to all the EU law that either the UK has transposed into its legal order via acts of parliament, or that have direct application in the UK, such as EU Regulations.

Brussels I Regulation (Recast) is one of many such EU law instruments. It prescribes the rules on jurisdiction of member state courts, as well as the rules on the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters within the EU. It has been predicted that the UK’s adherence to the Brussels I regime “is likely to be significantly modified, if not entirely replaced, in the event of Brexit.” The authors of that piece outline the different scenarios on the fate of the English rules on civil jurisdiction post-Brexit. The course chosen may have an impact on the ability of human rights victims overseas to bring suit against multinational enterprises (MNEs) in UK courts. Continue reading

Dark clouds over international drug policy (pierced by some rays of light)

By Jan Malinowski

The war on drugs has delivered many broken promises – like the one of a “drug-free world” – alongside considerable collateral damage. Despite the good intentions expressed during the latest United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem (19 to 21 April 2016) and the valuable proposals in the outcome document paradoxically adopted at the outset of the meeting, fallout continues.

Indonesia and Iran recently added more names to the long list of people executed for drug-related offences, while Reuters quoted a senior Iranian judicial official saying that executions in Iran have had no deterrent effect. These are the latest, but far from the only victims despite the compelling evidence that capital punishment does not deter crime. There have been conflicting media reports about the Philippine President’s endorsement of the execution of a young Filipino mother in Indonesia for drug offences. Continue reading

Venezuela’s Race Against Time

By Alex Wilks

The lack of food staples and medical supplies, failing public services, frequent blackouts and brutal insecurity have become so serious in Venezuela that earlier this month, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon described the situation as a ‘humanitarian crisis’. Colombia has even opened humanitarian corridors to allow thousands of Venezuelans to cross the border for the weekend to buy basic necessities. Once one of Latin America’s richest countries and with the largest proven oil reserves in the world, Venezuela is now in a race against time to save itself from collapse.

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