Jurisdiction – what next?

The “Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community” has been given effect in the UK by the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement is being voted on by the European Parliament today. It must also be approved by the Council of the EU.

Assuming it is approved, jurisdiction will be covered by art. 67(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement. Broadly speaking, this provides for:

  1. The continued application of Brussels I (Recast) to legal proceedings in the UK and in Member States involving the UK “instituted before the end of the transition period”.
  2. The continued application of Brussels I (Recast) to legal proceedings which, although not instituted before the end of the transition period, “are related to such proceedings” pursuant to the lis pendens provisions in arts. 29–31 of Brussels I (Recast).

Article 126 of the Withdrawal Agreement provides that the transition period will run until 31 December 2020 (subject to the possibility of extension of the transition period under art. 132).

Article 67(2)(a) covers the recognition and enforcement of judgments. This provides that “[i]n the United Kingdom, as well as in the Member States in situations involving the United Kingdom” Brussels I (Recast) will continue to apply to judgments “given in legal proceedings instituted before the end of the transition period”.

The UK has also received statements of support from Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland for the UK’s intent to accede in its own right to the Lugano Convention 2007 with effect from the end of the transition period (31 December 2020). We previously wrote about the difficulties that could arise if any of the signatories objected to the UK’s accession to the treaty. The Lugano Convention will continue to apply during the transition period.

Does art. 4(1) of Brussels I (Recast) confer a right enforceable by an anti-suit injunction?

In this blog post, Elizabeth Boulden of 12 King’s Bench Walk looks at the recent case of Gray v Hurley [2019] EWCA Civ 2222. This explores the interesting question of whether art. 4(1) of Brussels I (Recast) gives rise to an enforceable right which obliges a court to grant an anti-suit injunction to prevent a party from litigating against an EU-domiciled person in a non-EU Member State.

In summary, Ms Gray appealed against the refusal of an anti-suit injunction to prevent Mr Hurley from bringing proceedings against her in New Zealand. Ms Gray argued that, pursuant to art. 4(1), she had an enforceable right to be sued in the UK, this being the place of her domicile. The court ultimately decided to refer the matter to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling because the meaning and applicability of art. 4(1) were not acte clair. Continue reading “Does art. 4(1) of Brussels I (Recast) confer a right enforceable by an anti-suit injunction?”