Supreme Court seeks answers from the european Court of Justice in BP case

On 20 April 2010, an explosion occurred on the oil drilling platform Deepwater Horizon, leased by BP and located in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in deaths and injuries. Damage was also caused to the environment.

In 2015, VEB summoned BP to appear before the District Court of Amsterdam and instituted a collective action pursuant to Section 305a of Book 3 of the Dutch Civil Code on behalf of all persons who, in the period from 16 January 2007 to 25 June 2010, purchased, held or sold ordinary shares in BP through an investment account in the Netherlands or through an investment account of a bank and/or investment firm established in the Netherlands. VEB believes that BP informed shareholders with a Dutch investment account incorrectly, incompletely or misleadingly about the oil spill.

In the lower courts and in cassation, the key question is about the international jurisdiction of the Dutch courts (Article 7, introductory sentence and point 2, Regulation Brussels I-bis (no. 1215/2012)).

The district court and the court of appeal have declared themselves incompetent. Does damage to an investment account offer sufficient starting points to qualify the Netherlands as the place where the damage occurred?

Special or additional circumstances for jurisdiction of Dutch courts. Meaning of the circumstance that there is collective action on the basis of Article 3:305a of the Civil Code.

The Supreme Court has handed down an interlocutory judgment in which it intends to put preliminary questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Vide the Supreme Courts’ decision: