Last-gasp CJEU reference for Keefe jurisdiction question

This blog post draws attention to some recent developments concerning the much-vexed Keefe jurisdiction question.

The question concerns whether it is a requirement of art. 13(3) of Brussels I (Recast) that, for an injured person to make a parasitic claim against an insured, the claim against the insured has to involve “a matter relating to insurance” in the sense that it raises a question about the validity or effect of the policy.

The issue had previously been referred to the CJEU in Cole and Others v IVI Madrid SL and Zurich Insurance Plc [2019] 9 WLUK 373 (following settlement of the claim in Keefe itself), a case which we considered in a previous blog post here.

In Hutchinson v Mapfre España Compañia de Seguros Y Reaseguros SA and another [2020] EWHC 178 (QB), the judge considered that a reference to the CJEU was necessary but declined to make a fresh one given the outstanding status of the reference in Cole. We considered that case here.

Cole then settled, meaning that, with the end of the Brexit transition period occurring in the meantime, the issue may never have reached the CJEU.

However, the question has been the subject of an eleventh-hour re-referral in Tattersall v Seguros Catalana Occidente SA and Basque (Unreported) Birkenhead County Court, 31 December 2020 (DJ Hennessy) – possibly the last such reference to the CJEU from the courts of England and Wales. The case involves a personal injury claim arising out of an accident at the insured’s holiday home in Spain.

A full copy of DJ Hennessy’s judgment can be found on the Doughty Street Chambers website here.

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