Category Archives: Jurisdiction

Fern Computer Consultancy Ltd -v- Intergraph Cadworx & Analysis Solutions Inc; ChD 29-Aug-2014

The defendant sought to have set aside an order allowing service on it out of the jurisdiction.

Court: ChD
Date: 29-Aug-2014
Judges: Mann J
Links: Bailii,
References: [2014] EWHC 2908 (Ch),

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Mbasogo, President of the State of Equatorial Guinea and Another -v- Logo Ltd and others; CA 23-Oct-2006

The claimant alleged a conspiracy by the defendants for his overthrow by means of a private coup d’etat. The defendants denied that the court had jurisdiction. The claimants appealed dismissal of their claim to damages.
Held: The claims were not justiciable here. Public laws, like penal laws, may not be enforced directly or indirectly in the English Courts. The court approved the statement: ‘a foreign State cannot enforce in England such rights as are founded upon its peculiar powers of prerogative. ‘ The critical question is whether in bringing a claim, a claimant is doing an act which is of a sovereign character or which is done by virtue of sovereign authority; and whether the claim involves the exercise or assertion of a sovereign right. If so, then the court will not determine or enforce the claim. On the other hand, if in bringing the claim the claimant is not doing an act which is of a sovereign character or by virtue of sovereign authority and the claim does not involve the exercise or assertion of a sovereign right and the claim does not seek to vindicate a sovereign act or acts, then the court will both determine and enforce it. However, the claims pleaded were not founded on the claimants’ property interests. The alleged losses arose as a result of decisions taken by the claimants to protect the state and citizens of Equatorial Guinea. The defence of a state and its subjects is a paradigm function of government. The allegations of assault in that any threat was not immediate.

Court: CA
Date: 23-Oct-2006
Judges: Sir Anthony Clarke MR, Lord Justice Dyson and Lord Justice Moses
Links: Bailii,
References: [2006] EWCA Civ 1370, Times, 27-Oct-2006, [2007] 2 WLR 1062
Cases Cited:
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Filed under Jurisdiction, Torts - Other

Union Bank of Finland Ltd -v- Lelakis; 1997

Proceedings had been served within the jurisdiction under submission to jurisdiction clauses contained in the guarantees upon which suit was brought against the defendant. However service abroad was objected to.
Held: Order 11, rule 9(4) was held to authorise service out of the jurisdiction with leave. It was sufficient to engage Order11 r.9(4) if the proceedings against the defendant were proceedings which could have been served out of the jurisdiction. They did not actually have to be so served.

Date: 01-Jan-1997
References: [1997] 1 WLR 590,
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Filed under Jurisdiction, Litigation Practice

Mbasogo, President of the State of Equatorial Guinea and Another -v- Logo Ltd and others; CA 23-Oct-2006

The claimant alleged a conspiracy by the defendants for his overthrow by means of a private coup d’etat. The defendants denied that the court had jurisdiction. The claimants appealed dismissal of their claim to damages.
Held: The claims were not justiciable here. Public laws, like penal laws, may not be enforced directly or indirectly in the English Courts. The court approved the statement: ‘a foreign State cannot enforce in England such rights as are founded upon its peculiar powers of prerogative. ‘ The critical question is whether in bringing a claim, a claimant is doing an act which is of a sovereign character or which is done by virtue of sovereign authority; and whether the claim involves the exercise or assertion of a sovereign right. If so, then the court will not determine or enforce the claim. On the other hand, if in bringing the claim the claimant is not doing an act which is of a sovereign character or by virtue of sovereign authority and the claim does not involve the exercise or assertion of a sovereign right and the claim does not seek to vindicate a sovereign act or acts, then the court will both determine and enforce it. However, the claims pleaded were not founded on the claimants’ property interests. The alleged losses arose as a result of decisions taken by the claimants to protect the state and citizens of Equatorial Guinea. The defence of a state and its subjects is a paradigm function of government. The allegations of assault in that any threat was not immediate.

Court: CA
Date: 23-Oct-2006
Judges: Sir Anthony Clarke MR, Lord Justice Dyson and Lord Justice Moses
Links: Bailii,
References: [2006] EWCA Civ 1370, Times, 27-Oct-2006, [2007] 2 WLR 1062
Cases Cited:
Cited By:

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Filed under Jurisdiction, Torts - Other

Union Bank of Finland Ltd -v- Lelakis; 1997

Proceedings had been served within the jurisdiction under submission to jurisdiction clauses contained in the guarantees upon which suit was brought against the defendant. However service abroad was objected to.
Held: Order 11, rule 9(4) was held to authorise service out of the jurisdiction with leave. It was sufficient to engage Order11 r.9(4) if the proceedings against the defendant were proceedings which could have been served out of the jurisdiction. They did not actually have to be so served.

Date: 01-Jan-1997
References: [1997] 1 WLR 590,
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Filed under Jurisdiction, Litigation Practice

JO -v- GO and Others; re PO; CoP 13-Dec-2013

PO, a lady in her late eighties lacked capacity to decide her own care. She had been habitually resident in Hertfordshire. Her daughters now challenged their brother who had moved her to a care home in Scotland when he himself moved there. An interim guardianship order had been made by the Sheriff. When the sisters made the current application for an order, the now guardian Scottish local council said that she was now habitually resident in Scotland and that the present court had no jurisdiction.
Held: The matter was governed by section 83 of the 2005 which incorporated the 2000 Convention.

Court: CoP
Date: 13-Dec-2013
Judges: Sir James Munby P
Statutes: Mental Capacity Act 2005 63, 2000 Hague Convention on the International Protection of Adults
Links: Bailii, WLRD,
References: [2013] EWHC 3932 (COP), [2013] EWCOP 3932, [2013] WLR(D) 495
Cases Cited:

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Filed under Health, Jurisdiction, Scotland

McGraw-Hill International (UK) Ltd -v- Deutsche Apotheker-Und Arztebank Eg and Others; ComC 18-Jul-2014

Application by fifth defendant to have service set aside as made without jurisdiction.

Court: ComC
Date: 18-Jul-2014
Judges: Cooke J
Links: Bailii,
References: [2014] EWHC 2436 (Comm),

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The Chaparral; CA 1968

A contract conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the English court as a neutral forum. In the context not only of English and other jurisdiction clauses the court held: ‘In the present case the choice of the parties was the English Court, and . . I should myself require strong grounds for saying that one of the parties should not keep his word.’

Court: CA
Date: 01-Jan-1968
Judges: Diplock LJ
References: [1968] 2 Lloyd
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Filed under Contract, Jurisdiction

Young -v- Anglo American South Africa Ltd and Others; CA 31-Jul-2014

The parties disputed whether the claimant had a ‘good arguable case’ that the defendant had its central administration in England so as to give the court jurisdiction.

Court: CA
Date: 31-Jul-2014
Judges: Lord Dyson MR, Aikens LJ, Janet Smith D
Statutes: Brussels 1 Regulation (Regulation EC 44/2001 60
Links: Bailii, WLRD,
References: [2014] EWCA Civ 1130, [2014] WLR(D) 370

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Young -v- Anglo American South Africa Ltd and Others; CA 31-Jul-2014

The parties disputed whether the claimant had a ‘good arguable case’ that the defendant had its central administration in England so as to give the court jurisdiction.

Court: CA
Date: 31-Jul-2014
Judges: Lord Dyson MR, Aikens LJ, Janet Smith D
Statutes: Brussels 1 Regulation (Regulation EC 44/2001 60
Links: Bailii, WLRD,
References: [2014] EWCA Civ 1130, [2014] WLR(D) 370

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Baturina -v- Chistyakov; CA 5-Aug-2014

The claimant appealed aagainst an order staying her action in favour of like actions before the courts of Russia.

Court: CA
Date: 05-Aug-2014
Judges: Rimer, Lewison, Christopher Clarke LJJ
Links: Bailii,
References: [2014] EWCA Civ 1134,

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South Carolina Insurance Co -v- Assurantie Maatschappij de Zeven Provincien NV; HL 1987

There can be little basis for the grant of relief to a landowner providing protection from an action in nuisance if the landowner will not himself remedy the public nuisance. The House considered whether the circumstances gave the court power to grant an injunction at all, and stated certain basic principles governing the grant of an injunction. The first was that the power to grant an injunction was statutory (s. 37 of the 1981 Act). The third related to injunctions to restore proceedings in a foreign court, with which we are not concerned. The second was this: ‘The second basic principle is that, although the terms of section 37 (1) of the Act of 1981 and its predecessors are very wide, the power conferred by them has been circumscribed by judicial authority dating back many years. The nature of the limitations to which the power is subject has been considered in a number of recent cases in your Lordships’ House ‘
Lord Brandon of Oakbrook: ‘. . . The effect of these authorities, so far as material to the present case, can be summarised by saying that the power of the High Court to grant injunctions is, subject to two exceptions to which I shall refer shortly, limited to two situations. Situation (1) is when one party to an action can show that the other party has either invaded, or threatens to invade a legal or equitable right of the former for the enforcement of which the latter is amenable to the jurisdiction of the court. Situation (2) is where one party to an action has behaved, or threatens to behave, in a manner which is unconscionable.’ The House would not define unconscionable conduct save that it included conduct which is oppressive or vexatious or which interferes with the due process of the court.’
Lord Goff of Chieveley: ‘I am reluctant to accept the proposition that the power of the court to grant injunctions is restricted to certain exclusive categories. That power is unfettered by statute; and it is impossible for us now to foresee every circumstance in which it may be thought right to make the remedy available.’

Court: HL
Date: 01-Jan-1987
Judges: Lord Brandon of Oakbrook, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Mackay of Clashfern
Statutes: Supreme Court Act 1981 37
References: [1987] AC 24, [1986] 3 WLR 398, [1986] 3 A11 ER 487, [1986] 2 Lloyds Rep 317
Cases Cited:
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Filed under Jurisdiction, Litigation Practice, Nuisance

Hatch -v- Baez; 1876

(United States) The plaintiff claimed that he had suffered injuries in the Dominican Republic as a result of acts done by the defendant in his official capacity of President of that Republic. The Court accepted that because the defendant was in New York, he was within the territorial jurisdiction of the State.
Held: ‘But the immunity of individuals from suits brought in foreign tribunals for acts done within their own States, in the exercise of the sovereignty thereof, it is essential to preserve the peace and harmony of nations, and has the sanction of the most approved writers on international law. It is also recognised in all the judicial decisions on the subject that have come to my knowledge ‘
and ‘The counsel for the plaintiff relies on the general principle, that all persons, of whatever rank or condition, whether in or out of office, are liable to be sued by them in violation of law. Conceding the truth and universality of that principle, it does not establish the jurisdiction of our tribunals to take cognizance of the official acts of foreign governments. We think that, by the universal comity of nations and the established rules of international law, the courts of one country are bound to abstain from sitting in judgement on the acts of another government done within its own territory. Each state is sovereign throughout its domain. The acts of the defendant for which he is sued were done by him in the exercise of that part of the sovereignty of St. Domingo which belongs to the executive department of that government. To make him amenable to a foreign jurisdiction for such acts, would be a direct assault upon the sovereignty and independence of his country. The only remedy for such wrongs must be sought through the intervention of the government of the person injured.
The fact that the defendant has ceased to be president of St. Domingo does not destroy his immunity. That springs from the capacity in which the acts were done, and protects the individual who did them, because they emanated from a foreign and friendly government.’

Date: 01-Jan-1876
References: (1876) 7 Hun 596,
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Filed under International, Jurisdiction

Knauf UK GmbH -v- British Gypsum Ltd and Another; CA 24-Oct-2001

Permission was sought to use alternative service to serve proceedings on a company. There was no exceptional difficulty in ordinary service, but the claimant wanted to ensure that a claim was heard within the UK jurisdiction, and expected that he would have to serve the proceedings by surprise in order to prevent them first issuing in Germany.
Held: This was an inappropriate attempt to misuse the court rules in order to subvert the ordinary rules regulating such matters. The order for alternative service was set aside.

Court: CA
Date: 24-Oct-2001
Judges: Lord Justice Henry, Lord Justice Robert Walker and Lord Justice Rix
Statutes: Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982
Links: Bailii,
References: Times, 15-Nov-2001, [2001] EWCA Civ 1570, [2002] 1 WLR 907
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Filed under Jurisdiction, Litigation Practice

Dornoch Ltd and others -v- The Mauritius Union Assurance Company Ltd and Another; ComC 19-Aug-2005

Court: ComC
Date: 19-Aug-2005
Judges: Aikens J
Links: Bailii,
References: [2005] EWHC 1887 (Comm), [2006] Lloyd's Rep IR 127
Cited By:

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Filed under Insurance, Jurisdiction

Reunion Europeenne Sa and Others -v- Spliethoffs Bevrachtingskantoor Bv and Another; ECJ 27-Oct-1998

French consignees of a shipment of peaches sued in France the Australian issuers of the bill of laiding under which the goods were carried (a contract claim) and the Dutch carriers and master of the ship in which they were carried (tort claims).
Held: There was no jurisdiction under Article 6(1) because none of the defendants were domiciled in France. After referring to Kalfelis: ‘It follows that two claims in one action for compensation directed against different defendants and based in one instance on contractual liability and in the other on liability in tort or delict cannot be regarded as connected.’
Europa An action by which the consignee of goods found to be damaged on completion of a transport operation by sea and then by land, or by which his insurer who has been subrogated to his rights after compensating him, seeks redress for the damage suffered, relying on the bill of lading covering the maritime transport, not against the person who issued that document on his headed paper but against the person whom the plaintiff considers to be the actual maritime carrier, does not fall within the scope of matters relating to a contract within the meaning of Article 5, point 1, of the Convention of 27 September 1968 on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, as amended by the Convention of 9 October 1978 on the Accession of the Kingdom of Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, by the Convention of 25 October 1982 on the Accession of the Hellenic Republic and by the Convention of 26 May 1989 on the Accession of the Kingdom of Spain and the Portuguese Republic, since the bill of lading in question does not disclose any contractual relationship freely entered into between the consignee and the defendant. Such an action is, however, a matter relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict within the meaning of Article 5, point 3, of that Convention, since that concept covers all actions which seek to establish the liability of a defendant and are not related to matters of contract within the meaning of Article 5, point 1. As regards determining the `place where the harmful event occurred’ within the meaning of Article 5, point 3, the place where the consignee, on completion of a transport operation by sea and then by land, merely discovered the existence of the damage to the goods delivered to him cannot serve to determine that place. Whilst it is true that the abovementioned concept may cover both the place where the damage occurred and the place of the event giving rise to it, the place where the damage arose can, in the circumstances described, only be the place where the maritime carrier was to deliver the goods. Article 6, point 1, of the Convention of 27 September 1968 must be interpreted as meaning that a defendant domiciled in a Contracting State cannot, on the basis of that provision, be sued in another Contracting State before a court seised of an action against a co-defendant not domiciled in a Contracting State on the ground that the dispute is indivisible rather than merely displaying a connection. The objective of legal certainty pursued by the Convention would not be attained if the fact that a court in a Contracting State had accepted jurisdiction as regards one of the defendants not domiciled in a Contracting State made it possible to bring another defendant, domiciled in a Contracting State, before that same court in cases other than those envisaged by the Convention, thereby depriving him of the benefit of the protective rules laid down by it.

Court: ECJ
Date: 27-Oct-1998
Statutes: Brussels Convention on Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters 1968
Links: Times, Bailii,
References: C-51/97, [1998] ECR I-6511, [1998] EUECJ C-51/97
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Filed under European, Jurisdiction, Transport

BAS Capital Funding Corporation, Deutsche Bank Ag London, Paine Webber Capital Inc, PW Exe Lp, Pw Partners 1999 Lp -v- Medfinco Limited, Abacus Holdings Limited, Andreas W Gerdes, HTC Inc, etc; ChD 25-Jul-2003

The claimants wanted to bring actions in respect of various matters under shareholders agreements in complex international joint ventures. Leave was given to serve English proceedings in Malta, and the claim form and particulars of claim were faxed and emailed and delivered by hand at the registered offices of the company and at the private address of the owner and a director of the company. All these methods were ineffective as service under English law or Maltese law. The defendants challenged the jurisdiction of the English court, referring to an exclusive jurisdiction clause. Proceedings had been begun in Malta. The respondents denied that serious and grave matters had been alleged so as to bring into play section 402.
Held: The court set aside the order granting permission to serve the defendants out of the jurisdiction, except in relation to the alleged breach by the Company of the funding limits, and refused to grant the injunctions either in the wide form originally sought, or in the modified form suggested in correspondence.

Court: ChD
Date: 25-Jul-2003
Judges: Lawrence Collins J
Statutes: Companies Act 1985 402
Links: Bailii,
References: [2003] EWHC 1798 (Ch), [2004] 1 Lloyd's Rep 652
Cases Cited:

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Filed under Company, Jurisdiction

Guaranty Trust Co of New York -v- Hannay & Co; CA 1915

A claimant does not need to have a subsisting cause of action against a defendant before the court will grant a claimant a declaration. The court considered the ambiguity in the meaning of the word ‘jurisdiction’: ‘The first and, in my opinion, the only really correct sense of the expression that the Court has no jurisdiction is that it has no power to deal with and decide the dispute as to the subject matter before it, no matter in what form or by whom it is raised. But there is another sense in which it is often used, i.e., that, although the Court has power to decide the question it will not according to its settled practice do so except in a certain way and under certain circumstances.’ An unsuccessful attack was mounted on the vires of Ord 25 r 5.
Pickford LJ said: ‘I think therefore that the effect of the rule is to give a general power to make a declaration whether there be a cause of action or not, and at the instance of any party who is interested in the subject matter of the declaration.’ and ‘The first and, in my opinion, the only really correct sense of the expression that the Court has no jurisdiction is that it has no power to deal with and decide the dispute as to the subject-matter before it, no matter in what form or by whom it is raised. But there is another sense in which it is often used, i.e., that, although the Court has power to decide the question it will not according to its settled practice do so except in a certain way and under certain circumstances.’
Bankes LJ: ‘It is essential, however, that a person who seeks to take advantage of the rule must be claiming relief. What is meant by this word relief? When once it is established, as I think it is established, that relief is not confined to relief in respect of a cause of action it seems to follow that the word itself must be given its fullest meaning. There is, however, one limitation which must always be attached to it, that is to say, the relief claimed must be something which it would not be unlawful or unconstitutional or inequitable for the court to grant or contrary to the accepted principles upon which the court exercises its jurisdiction. Subject to this limitation I see nothing to fetter the discretion of the court in exercising a jurisdiction under the rule to grant relief, and having regard to general business convenience and the importance of adapting the machinery of the courts to the needs of suitors I think the rule should receive as liberal a construction as possible.’

Court: CA
Date: 01-Jan-1915
Judges: Pickford LJ, Bankes LJ
References: [1915] 2 KB 536,
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Filed under Jurisdiction, Litigation Practice

Assaubayev and Others -v- Michael Wilson & Partners, Ltd; QBD 21-Mar-2014

Court: QBD
Date: 21-Mar-2014
Judges: Walker J
Links: Bailii,
References: [2014] EWHC 821 (QB),

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Filed under Arbitration, Costs, Jurisdiction

de Dampierre -v- de Dampierre; HL 1988

The existence and state of foreign proceedings are relevant to the exercise of the court’s discretion to stay an action on the ground of forum non conveniens. The essential test on which the court might exercise its discretion to stay the petition is if the court, as Lord Goff said, ‘is satisfied that there is some other tribunal, having competent jurisdiction, in which the case may be tried more suitably for the interests of the parties and for the ends of justice.’

Court: HL
Date: 01-Jan-1988
Judges: Lord Goff
References: [1988] 1 AC 92,
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Filed under Family, Jurisdiction