Today the US Supreme Court granted certiorari in Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum, which is to be argued in tandem with Mohamad v. Rajoub. The Question Presented is:
1. Whether the issue of corporate civil tort liability under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”), 28 U.S.C. § 1350, is a merits question, as it has been treated by all courts prior to the decision below, or an issue of subject matter jurisdiction, as the court of appeals held for the first time.
2. Whether corporations are immune from tort liability for violations of the law of nations such as torture, extrajudicial executions or genocide, as the court of appeals decisions provides, or if corporations may be sued in the same manner as any other private party defendant under the ATS for such egregious violations, as the Eleventh Circuit has explicitly held.
As many will no doubt be aware, the US Appeals Court is split, with the decision in Kiobel providing to be very controversial (as demonstrated by the remarkable Concurrence in Kiobel).