Globally, whistleblowers are afforded greater protections today than ever before, but the threats that come along with unveiling corruption still prevent people from coming forward. The United States offers a great body of laws and protections for whistleblowers, more than any other country, and this is reflected in the number of whistleblower reports and also the amount of awards granted each year. EU member states, including Germany, are also implementing new protections for whistleblowers, but lag behind their American counterparts. Overall corporate governance guidelines and trends have had an effect on the whistleblowing industry as people are encouraged to come forward from inside any affected companies. However, although there is some progress in certain geographic locations, the world needs to encourage whistleblowers to come forward and report wrongdoing. The result will be a better and more sustainable world.
On Thursday, June 20, 2019, DRRT, along with its local counsel Koga & Partners, successfully filed the first complaint against Kobe Steel, Ltd in Tokyo District Court, claiming over ¥5 billion in damages. Kobe Steel is Japan’s third largest steelmaker, as well as a major supplier of aluminum, copper and other products around the world.
As we have just entered 2019, we here at DRRT would like to provide a quick overview of the trends we noticed in our work as a claims filing provider during 2018. This year had major developments, and we are still waiting to see how this will play out in terms of recoveries for many of the cases. However, the increase in Australian actions, the complexities of the antitrust settlements such as FX and LIBOR, and the evolution of new jurisdictions prove that having a robust claims filing provider, with an extensive legal background, can make a major difference in terms of maximizing recoveries and ensuring all opportunities are explored.
When on March 14, 2018, after almost 6 months without a government, the two biggest parties in Germany signed their coalition agreement (“Koalitionsvertrag”) and formed the 24th and current government of the Federal Republic of Germany (“Bundesregierung”). Most people paid little attention to a half-page proposal buried on page 124. According to the proposal, the new government would be committed to establishing a class action system in Germany. On May 9, 2018, and with the biggest scandal in German automobile history still fresh in everyone’s mind, the federal government met to discuss a draft proposal leading to a definite law on November 1, a particularly sensitive deadline, seeing as most claims against Volkswagen based on the Dieselgate scandal will expire on December 31, 2018. On June 14, Parliament approved the proposal after very little debate and news agencies have been booming ever since with stories and explanations about the proposed class action system. Sadly, for those familiar with the U.S. model, the current developments from Germany will prove greatly disappointing.
Switzerland as a venue for collective redress litigation:
Although not a member of the European Union, thanks to a series of treaties, Switzerland is a member of the European Single Market, participating in its free movement of goods, services and capital. Additionally, because of the Lugano Convention of 2007, Switzerland also forms part of what could be called a “Single Legal Area” in which court decisions are mutually recognized and executed without need of any special procedure. This frictionless interaction between Switzerland and the rest of the EU, combined with the world-renowned Swiss efficiency and discretion, has made the country a great venue for litigation, especially as regards to civil and commercial arbitration.