In re Banque des Marchands de Moscou (Koupetschesky) (No 2): CA 1954

A Russian bank operated in Russia. It had no branch in England, but did have an account, in credit, with a bank in London. On December 15, 1917 the bank was nationalized by a decree of the soviet government. On December 16th 1917, two documents were signed, purporting to be orders from the Russian bank to the one in London directing it to pay to the order of O, a russian, andpound;10,000 in the one case and andpound;2000 in the other. The Russian bank was dissolved under a Russian degree in or about January 1918, and any liability of the banker to O was extinguished in Russian law. On May 30 1932 after the dissolution of the russian bank a winding up order in respect of it was made in England under the Companies act 1929 section 338. On September 21, 1932, O, being then domiciled in France, lodged a proof in the winding up in respect of an alleged that the andpound;12,000 being the aggregate of the two sums of andpound;10,000 and andpound;2000. No application for leave to serve a writ out of the jurisdiction for the purpose of recovering either of the two sums was made. O died and assets having come into the hands of the liquidator and the liquidator having rejected the proof on November 12 1952, O’s widow and administratrix applied to the court by summons dated December 3 1952, to reverse the liquidator’s decision.
Held: The debts of andpound;10,000 and andpound;2,000 were locally situate in Russia where the russian bank had resided, and even if the debts could have been recovered in England or by action instituted in england, that fact would not have made them locally situate in England ; and accordingly, the debts remained subject to the nationalisation and other degrees of the Soviet government, and the proof was rightly rejected.
A chose in action must be regarded as situated in a country where it is enforceable. A possibility of serving process out of the jurisdiction under Order 11 does not have the effect of altering the local situation of a chose in action so as to bring it within the jurisdiction.

Romer LJ
[1954] 2 All ER 746, [1954] 1 WLR 1108, 98 Sol Jo 557
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedWight, Pilling, Mackey v Eckhardt Marine GmbH PC 14-May-2003
(Cayman Islands) An international bank went into liquidation in the Cayman Islands, with liabilities in Bangladesh. A new bank was created in Bangladesh, and the applicants sought to make the new bank liable, and through them the liquidators.
Banking, Insolvency, International

Updated: 25 November 2021; Ref: scu.183831