Ashton Investments Ltd. and Another v OJSC Russian Aluminium (Rusal) and others: ComC 18 Oct 2006

The claimants sought damages for breach of confidence saying that the defendants had hacked into their computer systems via the internet to seek privileged information in the course of litigation. The defendants denied this and said the courts had no jurisdiction.
Held: The court at this stage should look no further than asking whether there is a serious issue to be tried, and should be careful to avoid usurping the task of the judge at trial by assessing the weight of the evidence. That had been shown. As to the jurisdiction, though any direct acts of the defendants may have occurred in Russia: ‘The attack emanated from Russia but it was directed at the server in London and that is where the hacking occurred. In my view, significant damage occurred in England where the server was improperly accessed and the confidential and privileged information was viewed and downloaded. The fact that it was transmitted almost instantly to Russia does not mean that the damage occurred only in Russia. If a thief steals a confidential letter in London but does not read it until he is abroad, damage surely occurs in London. It should not make a difference that, in a digital age of almost instantaneous communication, the documents are stored in digital form rather than hard copy and information is transmitted electronically abroad where it is read. The removal took place in London. ‘ Though remedies might be available in Russia, the factors including ongoing litigation here generally supported English jurisdiction. However the claimants had not shown sufficient case against the non-corporate defendants and those cases were dismissed.
Jonathan Hirst QC
[2006] EWHC 2545 (Comm), Times 31-Oct-2006
England and Wales
CitedSeaconsar Far East Ltd v Bank Markazi Jomhouri Islami Iran HL 15-Oct-1993
A plaintiff must show that there is a ‘serious issue for trial’ to support and justify an application for overseas service. The standard of proof in respect of the cause of action relied on is whether, on the evidence, there was a serious question . .
CitedCanada Trust Company and others v Wolfgang Otto Stolzenberg and others (2) CA 29-Oct-1997
The court looked at questions relating to domicile and jurisdiction; standard of proof, date to be determined and duties before service.
Held: The court is endeavouring to find an imprecise concept which reflects that the plaintiff must . .
CitedKonkola Copper Mines Plc and Another v Coromin Ltd and others CA 17-Jan-2006
A stay was sought to allow other proceedings to continue.
Held: A stay of the court’s own proceedings in support of an arbitration elsewhere ‘required rare and compelling circumstances’. . .
CitedDistiller’s Co (Biochemicals) Ltd v Thompson PC 19-Jan-1971
(Australia) There had been a negligent failure in New South Wales to warn a pregnant woman of the dangers of taking the drug thalidimide.
Held: When looking at jurisdiction to hear a complaint of a tort, the court should look to where in . .
CitedWatson v Daily Record Ltd CA 1907
The court considered what was necessary to justify the court taking jursdiction against a non-resident defendant in a defamation action.
Cozens-Hardy LJ said: ‘Now it seems plain that the Court has a discretion, and that a plaintiff cannot . .
CitedDouglas, Zeta-Jones, Northern and Shell Plc v Hello! Limited, Hola SA, Junco, The Marquesa De Varela, Neneta Overseas Limited, Ramey CA 12-Feb-2003
The claimants claimed infringement of the privacy of their wedding celebrations. They requested permission for service out of the jurisdiction to join Mr Ramey as defendant, saying he had been the one who had taken some of the photographs in New . .
CitedSpiliada Maritime Corporation v Cansulex Ltd, The Spiliada HL 1986
Forum Non Conveniens Restated
The House reviewed the authorities on the principle of forum non conveniens and restated how to apply the principle where the defendant seeks a stay of proceedings on the ground that there is another more appropriate forum.
Held: ‘In the . .
CitedIn Re Banco Nacional De Cuba ChD 7-Jun-2001
Where it was alleged that shares in a UK company had been sold at an undervalue, so as to allow a challenge in insolvency proceedings, the leave of the court was still required if the pleadings were to be served abroad. When the court considered . .
CitedUnilever Plc v Chefaro Proprietaries Ltd; Chiron Corp etc v Organon CA 24-Nov-1994
The Court of Appeal gave guidance on what criteria are to be used by them for expediting appeals cases.
Glidewell LJ stated that what must be shown ito establish common design in an allegation of tort is that there are ‘facts from which an . .
CitedMetall and Rostoff v Donaldson Inc CA 1990
The court looked at how to establish where a tort was committed in order then to test its jurisdiction: ‘As the rule now stands it is plain that jurisdiction may be assumed only where (a) the claim is founded on a tort and either (b) the damage was . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 21 February 2021; Ref: scu.245437