Updates on Lago Agrio and Argentina
Posted on December 3, 2012
So as not to get too far into the week without some cases of the day, I am going to cover some recent happenings in two of our favorite cases in a single post. First is an update on the hearing on Chevron’s motion to dismiss in Toronto; second, the hearing on the Liberdad case in the Hague.
Chevron’s Motion to Dismiss
There has been a fair amount of coverage of Chevron’s motion to dismiss in Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corp., the Lago Agrio plaintiffs’ effort at recognition and enforcement in Ontario. According to Bloomberg, the judge seemed to favor Chevron’s jurisdictional arguments, which focus on the lack of connection between the case and Ontario, or rather the Chevron subsidiaries with a presence in Ontario. We will, of course, have full coverage of the judge’s decision once it is announced, but that may not be for several weeks or even a few months.
The International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea held hearing in the Liberdad case on November 29 and 30. I have previously linked to Argentina’s application; here now is Ghana’s written statement, which focuses on jurisdictional and procedural issues and not on the main substantive question of the vessel’s immunity from arrest under international law. However, the substantive question and other aspects of the case are discussed in the verbatim records of the hearing, which are available at the ITLOS website. One particularly interesting tidbit came from the second day of the hearing, when Ghana’s advocate, Philippe Sands QC, pointed to an internal memorandum from the Argentine ministry of foreign affairs indicating that the government of Argentina had appreciated for months the risk that the Liberdad might be seized:
The frigate Liberdad enjoys the immunities provided for the State’s public property. However, bearing in mind the existence of judicial proceedings against the Republic in various foreign jurisdictions, it is not possible to guarantee that its training voyage might not result in potential claims, precautionary measures or enforcement measures during its stay in foreign ports.
The Tribunal’s decision is expected on December 15, though that date may change.