In re The Alexandros T: SC 6 Nov 2013

The parties had disputed insurance claims after the foundering of the Alexandros T. After allegations of misbehaviour by the underwriters, the parties had settled the claims in a Tomlin Order. Five years later, however, the shipowners began proceedings in Greece making substantially similar allegations and claims, but under the equivalent in Greek law. In response the insurance underwriters issued proceedings here under the Tomlin orders settling the first proceedings requesting a stay of the proceedings in Greece. At first instance the Judge refused a saty under Article 28, and awarded judgment to the insurers. On appeal the CA granted a stay under article 27, not having to decide the A28 claim. The insurers now challenged the stay granted under A27, saying that a stay under article 28 was correctly refused.
Held: The stay under A27 should not have been granted. A stay under A27 depended upon the claims being the same in the two jurisdictions, so that a risk of irreconcilable judgments arose. There was an insufficient identity between the claims settled and the claims now made. The settled claims were in contract, and the current Greek claims were in tort. Also the factual base and objects of the two sets of proceedings differed.
As to A28, a stay was available only to a court other than the court first seized. Such a stay was discretionary and intended again to avoid conflicts between jurisdictions. In this case, the natural place was the UK, and proceedings had already reached an advanced stage. The cross appeal was dismissed and the decision refusing a stay under A28 was correct.
Lord Neuberger, President, Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Sumption, Lord Hughes
[2013] UKSC 70, [2013] 2 CLC 713, [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 223, [2014] Lloyd’s Rep IR 327, [2014] 1 All ER 590, [2014] BUS LR 873, [2014] 1 All ER (Comm) 337, UKSC 2013/0023
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC Summary, SC
Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 27 28
England and Wales
At first instanceStarlight Shipping Company v Allianz Marine and Aviation Versicherungs Ag and Others (Alexandros T) ComC 19-Dec-2011
Starlight had sued its insurers for payment under policies with regard to the Alexandros T. After allegations of serious misconduct were made against some of the insurance underwiters, the matter was settled with full liabiity under the terms of a . .
At CAStarlight Shipping Co v Allianz Marine and Aviation Versicherungs Ag and Others CA 20-Dec-2012
The Alexander T, owned by the appellant and insured by the respondents was a total loss. The insurers resisted payment, the appellant came to allege improperly, and the parties had settled the claim on full payment under a Tomlin Order. The owners . .
CitedFolien Fischer AG and another v Ritrama SpA ECJ 25-Oct-2012
ECJ Area of freedom, security and justice – Jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters – Special jurisdiction in tort, delict or quasi-delict – Action for a negative declaration (‘negative Feststellungsklage’) . .
CitedThe owners of the cargo lately laden on board the ship ‘Tatry’ v The owners of the ship ‘Maciej Rataj’ ECJ 6-Dec-1994
ECJ On a proper construction, Article 57 of the Brussels Convention on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments as amended means that, where a Contracting State is also a contracting party to another . .
CitedSarrio SA v Kuwait Investment Authority CA 12-Aug-1996
. .
CitedSarrio Sa v Kuwait Investment Authority HL 17-Nov-1997
The parties were spanish companies. They were involved in proceedings against each other in Spain. The respondent had begun an action here for negligent misrepresentation against the appellant. The appellant argued that given the Spanish . .
CitedUnderwriting Members of Lloyd’s Syndicate 980 and others v Sinco Sa ComC 29-Jul-2008
The claimants, insurers, relied upon an exclusive jurisdiction clause contained in a binder given to a Greek broker. It set England and Wales for any dispute. The insurers had terminated the binder alleging fraudulent conduct by the broker. A . .

Cited by:
CitedWright v Granath QBD 16-Jan-2020
Defamation across borders – Jurisdiction
The claimant began an action for defamation in an online publication. The Norwegian resident defendant had begun an action there seeking a declaration negating liability. The Court was now asked by the defendant whether under Lugano, the UK action . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 30 March 2021; Ref: scu.517444