What’s coming in 2023?
Nearly two weeks into the New Year and the IISTL’s version of ‘Old Moore’s Almanack’ looks ahead to what 2023 is going to have in store us.
Brexit. EU Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill will kick in at end of the year. It will be a major surprise if the two Conflicts Regulations, Rome I and Rome 2 aren’t retained, but not the Port Services Regulation.
Ebury Partners Belgium SA/NV v Technical Touch BV, Jan Berthels  EWHC 2927 (Comm) is another recent decision in which an ASI has been granted to restrain proceedings in an EU Member State (Belgium) in respect of a contract subject to English jurisdiction.
Electronic bills of lading. Electronic Trade Documents Bill. Likely to become law in 2023 and to come into effect two months after getting Royal Assent. The Law Commission will publish a consultation paper “Digital assets: which law, which court?” dealing with conflicts of law issues in the second half of 2023.
Autonomous vessels. The Department for Transport consultation on MASS and possible amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 closed in November 2021. Maybe some results in 2023?
Supreme Court cases
Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell. The case may well go to trial in 2023, although in May 2022 the High Court EWHC 989 (TCC), held it was premature to grant a Group Litigation Order and directed that each individual claimant should specify additional details to formulate a proper cause of action for the defendants to respond to.
In similar proceedings in the Netherlands in which the Court of Appeal in the Hague gave judgment in January 2021 relating to multiple oil pipeline leaks in the Niger Delta, it was announced just before Christmas 2022 that Shell will pay 15 million euros ($15.9 million) to the affected communities in Nigeria in full and final settlement on a basis of no admission of liability.
The Eternal Bliss appeal to the Supreme Court is likely to be heard in 2023, with possibility of judgment given in 2023.
But there must be a question mark over London Steam-ship Owners’ Mutual Insurance Association Ltd (Respondent) v Kingdom of Spain (Appellant), Case ID: Case ID 2022/0062 where it is stated “This appeal has been adjourned by request of the parties.”
IMO Two measures aimed at reducing shipping’s contribution to GHG emissions, EEXI and Cii, both came into force as from 1 January 2023 and will be in the forefront of the minds of those negotiating new time charters.
BIMCO has produced time charter clauses to deal with all three of these measures.
Ewan McGaughey et al v. Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited is a case involving whether the investments in fossil fuels by a large pension fund in the UK breach the directors’ fiduciary duties and duties towards contributors of the pension fund. On 24 May 2022, the High Court refused permission to bring a derivative action against USSL, but the Court of Appeal gave permission to appeal in October 2022, so a hearing in 2023 is “on the cards”.
On 15 July 2022, the EU Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act covering certain nuclear and gas activities came into force on 4 August 2022 and has applied from 1 January 2023. A legal challenge against the Commission before the CJEU by various NGOs and two member states, Austria and/or Luxembourg has been threatened in connection for the inclusion of nuclear energy and natural gas in the Delegated Act. Climate mitigation and adaptation criteria for maritime shipping, were included in the EU Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act adopted in April 2021.
Previous requests from other NGOs asking the Commission to carry out an internal review of the inclusion of certain forestry and bioenergy activities in the EU green taxonomy had already been rejected by the Commission in 2022.
The Corporate sustainability reporting directive came into effect on 16 Dec, 2022
For EU companies already required to prepare a non-financial information statement, the CSRD is effective for periods commencing on or after 1 January 2024. Large UK and other non-EU companies listed on an EU regulated market (i.e. those meeting two of the three following criteria: more than €20 million total assets, more than €40 million net turnover and more than 250 employees) will be subject to the CSRD requirements for periods commencing on or after 1 January 2025.
UK and other non-EU companies that are not listed in the EU but which have substantial activity in the EU will be subject to the CSRD for periods commencing on or after 1 January 2028.
Finally, a very happy 2023 to all our readers.