International Corporate Liability: the Past, Present, and Future of ‘Class Action Tourism’ in England
Completing an LLM in Professional Legal Practice at BPP University Law School. Holds a BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Oxford. Worked in both private and public legal roles.
Class action tourism refers to claims brought by a large number of claimants against parent companies in jurisdictions that are perceived to be claimant-friendly and based on alleged wrongdoing by those companies’ subsidiaries elsewhere. Such claims, commonly arising under tort, environmental, or human rights law, have become increasingly prominent in recent years. This article explains the background to this trend before discussing two important matters in detail: parental liability and issues of jurisdiction. By analysing these two areas, it seeks to explain both the recent prominence of these claims and their prospects in coming years. In particular, it argues that developments outside case law are likely to be crucial to the future of class action tourism: on one hand, more stringent requirements upon corporations as regard human rights and sustainability, combined with recent judgments, suggest the courts may be increasingly willing to find for claimants on the issue of parental liability. On the other, the EU legal regime aided the bringing of these cases and, post-Brexit, English courts have greater flexibility to decline jurisdiction. As a result of these developments, more cases may be struck out or stayed for jurisdictional reasons, but those that survive any jurisdictional challenge are less likely to be struck out on the basis that they cannot demonstrate potential parental liability and may be more likely to achieve ultimate success at trial or via settlement.
How to Cite:
Kenny, P., 2023. International Corporate Liability: the Past, Present, and Future of ‘Class Action Tourism’ in England. LSE Law Review, 8(2), pp.120–150.
16 Feb 2023.