Shevill, Ixora Trading Inc., Chequepoint SARL and Chequepoint International Ltd v Presse Alliance SA: ECJ 7 Mar 1995

On a proper construction of the expression ‘place where the harmful event occurred’ in Article 5(3) 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 and by the Convention of 25 October 1982 on the accession of the Hellenic Republic, the victim of a libel by a newspaper article distributed in several Contracting States may bring an action for damages against the publisher either before the courts of the Contracting State of the place where the publisher of the defamatory publication is established, which have jurisdiction to award damages for all the harm caused by the defamation, or before the courts of each Contracting State in which the publication was distributed and where the victim claims to have suffered injury to his reputation, which have jurisdiction to rule solely in respect of the harm caused in the State of the court seised. The criteria for assessing whether the event in question is harmful and the evidence required of the existence and extent of the harm alleged by the plaintiff in an action in tort, delict or quasi-delict are not governed by the Convention but are determined in accordance with the substantive law designated by the national conflict of laws rules of the court seised on the basis of the Convention, provided that the effectiveness of the Convention is not thereby impaired. The fact that under the national law applicable to the main proceedings damage is presumed in libel actions, so that the plaintiff does not have to adduce evidence of the existence and extent of that damage, does not therefore preclude the application of Article 5(3) of the Convention.
The Court considered jurisdiction in relation to an action for defamation under article 5(3), observing: ‘In the area of non-contractual liability, the context in which the questions referred have arisen, the sole object of the Convention is to determine which court or courts have jurisdiction to hear the dispute by reference to the place or places where an event considered harmful occurred.
It does not, however, specify the circumstances in which the event giving rise to the harm may be considered to be harmful to the victim, or the evidence which the plaintiff must adduce before the court seised to enable it to rule on the merits of the case.
Those questions must therefore be settled solely by the national court seised, applying the substantive law determined by its national conflict of laws rules, provided that the effectiveness of the Convention is not thereby impaired.’
C-68/93, [1995] ECR I-415, [1995] EUECJ C-68/93, [1995] 2 AC 18
Bailii
Convention of 27 September 1968 on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters 5(3)
European
Citing:
See AlsoShevill and Others v Presse Alliance SA HL 26-Jul-1996
A libel case against a French paper was rightly brought in UK despite the small (250 copies nationally and 5 in the plaintiff’s local area (Yorkshire)) circulation here. The Brussels Convention allows a claim for defamation in UK though the main . .

Cited by:
CitedMazur Media Limited and Another v Mazur Media Gmbh in Others ChD 8-Jul-2004
Proceedings were brought in England. The respondents sought a stay, saying the company was subject to insolvency proceedings in Germany.
Held: Our domestic insolvency law was not applicable to foreign proceedings, and so could not be used to . .
See AlsoShevill and Others v Presse Alliance SA HL 26-Jul-1996
A libel case against a French paper was rightly brought in UK despite the small (250 copies nationally and 5 in the plaintiff’s local area (Yorkshire)) circulation here. The Brussels Convention allows a claim for defamation in UK though the main . .
CitedBerezovsky v Forbes Inc and Michaels; Glouchkov v Same HL 16-May-2000
Plaintiffs who lived in Russia sought damages for defamation against an American magazine with a small distribution in England. Both plaintiffs had real connections with and reputations in England. A judgment in Russia would do nothing to repair the . .
CitedBols Distilleries VB (T/A As Bols Royal Distilleries) and Another v Superior Yacht Services Ltd PC 11-Oct-2006
(Gilbraltar) The parties disputed the management contract for a racing yacht, and also the juridiction of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar to hear the case. Bols said that under regulation 2(1) Gibraltar had no jurisdiction.
Held: The English . .
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.161090