Developing Law – Summary Procedures Very Limited
(Isle of Man) (‘Altimo’) The parties were all based in Kyrgyzstan, but the claimant sought a remedy in the Isle of Man which would be unavailable in Kyrgyzstan.
Held: Lord Collins said: ‘The general rule is that it is not normally appropriate in a summary procedure (such as an application to strike out or for summary judgment) to decide a controversial question of law in a developing area, particularly because it is desirable that the facts should be found so that any further development of the law should be on the basis of actual and not hypothetical facts: e.g. Lonrho Plc. v. Fayed  1 AC 448 , 469 (approving Dyson v Att-Gen  1 KB 410, 414: summary procedure ‘ought not to be applied to an action involving serious investigation of ancient law and questions of general importance . .’); X (Minors) v Bedfordshire County Council  2 AC 633 at 741 (‘Where the law is not settled but is in a state of development . . it is normally inappropriate to decide novel questions on hypothetical facts’); Barrett v Enfield London BC  2 AC 550, 557 (strike out cases); Home and Overseas Insurance Co. Ltd. v Mentor Insurance Co. (U.K.) Ltd.  1 WLR 153 (summary judgment). In the context of interlocutory injunctions, in the famous case of American Cyanamid Co v Ethicon Ltd  AC 396, 407 it was held that the court must be satisfied that the claim is not frivolous or vexatious, in other words, that there is a serious question to be tried. It was no part of the court’s function ‘to decide difficult questions of law which call for detailed argument and mature consideration.’ . . In Seaconsar Far East Ltd. v Bank Markazi Jomhouri Islami Iran  1 AC 438, 452, Lord Goff said that if, at the end of the day, there remained a substantial question of fact or law or both, arising on the facts disclosed by the affidavits, which the plaintiff bona fide desired to try, the court should, as a rule, allow the service of the writ. The standard of proof in respect of the cause of action could broadly be stated to be whether, on the affidavit evidence before the court, there was a serious question to be tried . . There is no reason why the same principle should not apply to the question whether, in a service out of the jurisdiction case . . a claim is ‘bound to fail’ as well as to the question whether there is a ‘serious issue to be tried’ . .’
Lord Collins of Mapesbury set out the three principle requirements for service out of the jurisdiction;
first, the claimant must satisfy the court that, in relation to the foreign defendant to be served with the proceedings, there is a serious issue to be tried on the merits of the claim, ie a substantial question of fact or law or both. There has to be a real, as opposed to a fanciful, prospect of success on the claim.
Secondly, the claimant must show a good arguable case that the claim against the foreign defendant falls within one or more of the classes of case for which leave to serve out of the jurisdiction may be given. ‘Good arguable case’ means that the claimant has a much better argument than the foreign defendant. Where a question of law arises in connection with a dispute about service out of the jurisdiction and that question of law goes to the existence of the jurisdiction then the court will normally decide the question of law, as opposed to seeing whether there is a good arguable case on that issue of law.
Thirdly, the claimant must satisfy the court that in all the circumstances England is clearly or distinctly the appropriate forum for the trial of the dispute and that in all the circumstances the court ought to exercise its discretion to permit service of the proceedings out of the jurisdiction.
Lord Phillips, Lord Mance, Lord Collins, Lord Kerr, Lord Dyson
 UKPC 7,  1 All ER (Comm) 319,  1 CLC 205,  1 WLR 1804,  4 All ER 1027
England and Wales
Cited – NML Capital Ltd v Argentina SC 6-Jul-2011
The respondent had issued bonds but in 2001 had declared a moratorium on paying them. The appellant hedge fund later bought the bonds, heavily discounted. Judgment was obtained in New York, which the appellants now sought to enforce against assets . .
Cited – VTB Capital Plc v Nutritek International Corp and Others SC 6-Feb-2013
The claimant bank said that it had been induced to create very substantial lending facilities by fraudulent misrepresentation by the defendants. They now appealed against findings that England was not clearly or distinctly the appropriate forum for . .
Cited – Abela and Others v Baadarani SC 26-Jun-2013
The claimants sought damages alleging fraud in a company share purchase. They said that their lawyer had secretly been working for the sellers. The claim form had been issued, but the claimant had delayed in requesting permission for its service . .
Applied – Williams v Central Bank of Nigeria QBD 8-Apr-2011
The claimant had been defrauded by a customer of the defendant bank. He brought a claim against the bank, saying that they knew or ought to have known of the fraudster’s activities, and were liable. The Bank denied that the UK courts had . .
Cited – Williams v Central Bank of Nigeria QBD 24-Jan-2012
The claimant asserted involvement by the defendant bank in a fraud perpetrated against him. Jurisdiction had already been admitted for one trust , and now the claimant sought to add two further claims.
Held: ‘None of the gateways to English . .
Cited – Google Inc v Vidal-Hall and Others CA 27-Mar-2015
Damages for breach of Data Protection
The claimants sought damages alleging that Google had, without their consent, collected personal data about them, which was resold to advertisers. They used the Safari Internet browser on Apple products. The tracking and collation of the claimants’ . .
Cited – Belhaj and Another v Straw and Others SC 17-Jan-2017
The claimant alleged complicity by the defendant, (now former) Foreign Secretary, in his mistreatment by the US while held in Libya. He also alleged involvement in his unlawful abduction and removal to Libya, from which had had fled for political . .
Cited – Four Seasons Holdings Incorporated v Brownlie SC 19-Dec-2017
The claimant and her family were in a car crash while on holiday in Egypt. The claimant’s husband and his daughter died. The holiday had been booked in England and the car excursion booked in advance from England. The hotel operator was incorporated . .
Applied – Ahuja v Politika Novine I Magazini Doo and Others QBD 23-Nov-2015
Action for misuse of private information and libel. Application to have set aside leave to serve out of the jurisdiction. The defendant published a newspaper in Serbian, in print in Serbia and online. Though in Serbian, the claimant said that online . .
Cited – Vedanta Resources Plc and Another v Lungowe and Others SC 10-Apr-2019
The claimants alleged negligence causing them personal injury and other losses arising from pollution from mining operations of the defendants in Zambia. The company denied jurisdiction. In the Court of Appeal the defendants’ appeals were dismissed. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Jurisdiction, Litigation Practice
Updated: 30 January 2022; Ref: scu.430511