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Private international law and substantive liability issues in tort litigation against multinational companies in the English courts: recent UK Supreme Court decisions and post-Brexit implications

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/06/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Private International Law
Issue number1
Number of pages27
Pages (from-to)56-82
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date6/06/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article examines the private international law and substantive liability issues in tort claims against UK based parent companies for the actions of their foreign subsidiaries. Arguments drawn from private international law’s largely untapped global governance function inform the analysis and the methodological pluralism manifested in the jurisdictional and choice of law solutions proposed. The direct imposition of duty of care on parent companies for torts committed by foreign subsidiaries is examined as an exception to the bedrock company law principles of separate legal personality and limited liability. In this regard, the UK Supreme Court’s recent landmark decisions in Vedanta v Lungowe and Okpabi v Shell have granted jurisdiction and allowed such claims to proceed on the merits in the English courts. This article assesses these decisions and their significance for transnational corporate accountability. The post-Brexit private international law regime and its implications for the viability of tort claims against parent companies are examined.