Private International Law facing corporate human rights violations and the response of the EU

María Álvarez Torné

Examples of international civil litigation involving cases of corporate human rights violations have traditionally been heard in the United States system, with a preeminent role being taken in this regard by the Alien Tort Statute. In recent years, many doubts have been raised as to the interpretation and application of this statute, most specifically in relation to the adoption in April 2013 of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Kiobel case. Along with procedures for filing such claims in the United States, increasing attention has been paid by legal practitioners to the possibilities for filing similar claims in other countries, above all in the member States of the European Union. Here, what needs to be determined is whether the legal instruments designed by the European Union offer adequate mechanisms for initiating this kind of litigation and for providing a response, in a context in which the difficulties for the determination of international jurisdiction are great. In European Union Private International Law, this article identifies the shortcomings of such instruments as the Brussels I Regulation and the Rome II Regulation and the opportunities that have been missed in a number of cases in the processes for their adoption or review. It is also useful in this context to examine the provisions made in the internal autonomous legislations and the relevance of the mechanisms of prevention in the struggle against these serious abuses, against which there does not seem to exist sufficient interest or agreement, as would be desirable, to ensure that Public International Law might offer adequate protection.

1. CONSIDERACIONES INICIALES.—2. RELEVANCIA DEL MODELO ESTADOUNIDENSE.— 2.1. Vías para vehicular las transnational human rights claims contra empresas.—2.2. Actualidad y posibilidades de desarrollo: la trascendencia del asunto Kiobel.—3. ACCIONES DE RESPONSABILIDAD CIVIL CONTRA EMPRESAS POR VIOLACIONES DE DERECHOS HUMANOS ANTE TRIBUNALES DE ESTADOS MIEMBROS DE LA UE.—3.1. Dificultades derivadas del tipo de demandado.—3.2. Determinación de la competencia judicial internacional.—3.2.1. Criterios previstos por el Reglamento Bruselas I.—3.2.2. Operatividad de los foros subsidiarios y algunos correctivos.—3.2.3. El escenario tras la revisión del Reglamento 44/2001.—3.3. La concreción de la ley aplicable en este ámbito.—3.3.1. La regulación establecida en el Reglamento Roma II y posibilidades de reforma.—4. REFLEXIONES FINALES.

enterprises; European Union Private International Law and autonomous legislations; human rights; international civil litigation; United States model;

REDI Vol. LXV 2 2013



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