Yesterday, the Parliament of Jersey passed legislation that limits the ability of vulture funds to sue some of the world’s most impoverished countries in Jersey courts.[i] The legislation passed with 41 votes in favor, none against and one abstention, [ii] putting Jersey at the forefront of this issue with only one other country - the UK - with anti-vulture fund legislation. The bill will become law after it receives Royal Assent by the UK Privy Council, which normally takes several months.[iii]
This is a major step forward in combating vulture funds, as Jersey courts have previously been used by vulture funds to prey on the world’s poorest, like in the unexpected decision this summer where Jersey courts ruled in favor of the Democratic Republic of the Congo when vulture fund FG Hemisphere attempted to sue a DRC-owned mining company for $100 million on an originally $3 million debt.[iv] The legislation passed yesterday limits the claims against forty impoverished countries in line with internationally agreed debt relief, as applied to pre-2004 debts.[v] While the legislation does not protect all low-income countries, it is a positive step towards stopping vulture funds from preying on the world’s poorest - a step we hope other countries will follow to ensure that this global problem is solved and the world’s most vulnerable are protected.
Read our blog discussing the proposal of the legislation in October: http://jubileeusa.typepad.com/blog_the_debt/2012/10/anti-vulture-fund-legislation-introduced-in-jersey-as-one-vulture-swoops-in-on-argentina-.html
Photo credit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2007/jul/17/uk.channelislands
[i] Rupert Neate, “Jersey puts stop to vulture funds circling its courts,” The Guardian, November 20, 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/nov/20/jersey-vulture-funds-courts/print
[ii] “Jersey politicians vote to stop ‘vulture funds’ using island courts,” BBC, November 20, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-jersey-20402914
[iii] Jubilee Debt Campaign, “States of Jersey legislate against vulture funds,” November 20, 2012http://www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk/States3720of3720Jersey3720legislate3720against3720vulture3720funds+7966.twl
[v] Jubilee Debt Campaign, “States of Jersey legislate against vulture funds,” November 20, 2012http://www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk/States3720of3720Jersey3720legislate3720against3720vulture3720funds+7966.twl