New EU Directive to enable collective redress for European consumers: The Directive (EU) 2020/1828 on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers was approved by the end of 2020. The EU member states have until the end of 2022 to implement the Directive into national legislation, with a further six months for the new processes to come into effect.
Revised EU Service and Evidence Regulations: The regulations on the taking of evidence and the service of documents were amended to make access to justice faster, cheaper and more user-friendly through digitalisation in civil and commercial matters. Changes to both regulations include the use of a mandatory decentralised IT system to exchange documents electronically cross-border. Both recasts will apply from 1 July 2022.
Treaty to terminate intra-EU BITs enters into force: On 29 August 2020, the Agreement for the Termination of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) between the Member States of the European Union came into force. The Agreement was signed by most EU Member States except for Austria, Finland, Ireland and Sweden. It remains to be seen whether foreign investors may still rely on the protection afforded by intra-EU BITs and what alternative mechanisms will be implemented to protect intra-EU cross-border investments.
New LCIA Arbitration Rules – Effective 1 October 2020: The 2020 LCIA Rules, which apply to any LCIA arbitration commenced on or after 1 October 2020, make a number of modifications to the preceding 2014 LCIA Rules. The changes largely build on, and refine, those rules with the aim of more explicitly addressing issues of contemporary arbitration best practice and refining/expediting procedures.
Singapore Mediation Convention now in effect: The Singapore Convention on Mediation came into effect on 12 September 2020, six months after the third country to ratify did so. The Convention is now operative for Singapore, Fiji and Qatar. Saudi Arabia, Belarus and Ecuador have also ratified and the Convention will come into effect for them three months after the date of their ratifications. Although important jurisdictions such as the UK, Australia and the EU are still to sign up, participation is under consideration in these key global players. Under the Convention, parties will be able to apply directly to the courts of party states which have also ratified the Convention to enforce settlement agreements resulting from mediation, without needing to initiate new proceedings.