International Law and Domestic Law

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Milieudefensie v Shell: Do oil corporations hold a duty to mitigate climate change?

On 26 May 2021, the District Court of the Hague passed a judgment recognizing an obligation of Royal Dutch Shell to mitigate climate change. Shell was ordered to reduce all carbon dioxide (CO2) resulting from its global operations—including those from the combustion of oil-and-gas products by its customers—by 45 percent by 2030, compared with 2019. It is the first time a court has imposed on a corporation such a broad mitigation obligation. The judgment is based on tort law and includes references to human rights and climate treaties. This note presents a few preliminary, sceptical, but constructive thoughts about the Court’s analysis. A parallel can be drawn with the judgment in Urgenda v the Netherlands, six years ago, where the same court found that the State had an obligation to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, compared with 1990. Like the present decision, the District Court judgment in Urgenda was based on tort law (by contrast to the subsequent Supreme Court…

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The rocky road to peace: current challenges at the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia

In November 2016, a peace agreement between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) and the Colombian government put an end to a 50-year-old conflict and established an institution unique in its kind: The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (SJP or JEP). As the cornerstone of Colombia’s transitional justice process, this tribunal was tasked with prosecuting the international crimes…

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Jam v IFC’s complications: the Pan-American Health Organization

The landmark judgment by the US Supreme Court in Jam v International Finance Corporation (IFC) has given rise to anxious reactions by US-based international organizations and generated a lively academic debate including at least three insightful comments on this blog (by respectively Diane Desierto here, Julian Arato here and Sachintha Dias here).  The case…

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The Venezuelan Gold decision: recognition in the English Court of Appeal

The English Court of Appeal recently handed down judgment in Maduro Board v Guaidó Board [2020] EWCA Civ 1249, which considers who can lawfully give instructions to English financial institutions regarding assets of Venezuela held in England, given the dispute about who is the rightful president of Venezuela. This is an important decision which is…

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Episode 5 of EJIL: The Podcast! “Breaking Bad – in a Specific and Limited Way”

In this episode of the podcast, Marko Milanovic, Sarah Nouwen, Philippa Webb and I analyse the Internal Market Bill which is currently going through the UK Parliament. The Bill is a remarkable piece of proposed legislation in that UK ministers, including the governments most senior legal advisers, admit that the aim of…

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