Setting aside a default judgment: danger for foreign defendants

This blog post draws attention to a short practice point which was commented on by the judge in Alli-Balogun v On the Beach Ltd & Ors [2021] EWHC 1702 (QB).

The decision related to an (unsuccessful) attempt by a Spanish insurer to set aside a default judgment entered in relation to a claim by a child who had suffered catastrophic injuries in a swimming pool whilst on holiday in Spain.

Harry Steinberg QC of 12 King’s Bench Walk represented the Claimant.

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Strike out applications denied in Malawian tobacco farmers group action

Martin Spencer J has rejected applications to strike out the claims of some 7,263 Malawian tobacco farmers brought against companies within the British American Tobacco group and Imperial Tobacco group.

The claims, under citation Josiya and Ors v British American Tobacco Plc and Ors [2021] EWHC 1743 (QB), are for negligence, conversion (of tobacco leaves), and unjust enrichment. The judgment has recently been uploaded to the Leigh Day website.

Kate Boakes of 12 King’s Bench Walk is instructed by Leigh Day on behalf of the Claimants.

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High Court approves settlement in cruise ship meningitis claim

This blog post draws attention to the decision of Andrew Baker J in RCX v PMX [2021] EWHC 816 (Admlty). This was a claim arising out of serious injuries suffered by a child who developed meningitis on board a cruise ship. The judgment has recently been released on Westlaw.

The injured child brought a claim in the courts of Florida. This was countered by a separate claim by the cruise company for an anti-suit injunction in the courts of England and Wales. Just before a jurisdiction battle in the English proceedings, the substantive claim settled. The judge was asked to approve the settlement.

Of particular interest for the purposes of this blog are the judge’s observations on the strategic aspects of the jurisdiction dispute and its implications for his approach to approval of the settlement.

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An ‘unrestrained litigation extravaganza’: Court of Appeal gives guidance on employment contract jurisdiction rules

What better way to start a Monday morning than with a litigation extravaganza?

In Alta Trading UK Ltd v Bosworth [2021] EWCA Civ 687, the Court of Appeal considered the ‘individual contracts of employment’ provisions of the Lugano Convention.

The issue arose in the context of a claim brought by companies trading in oil and oil derivatives arising out of a substantial and sustained fraud allegely perpetrated on them by their former CEO and CFO (the Defendants).

The ruling has continuing relevance because the post-Brexit English rules on both jurisdiction and service have in effect replicated the previous Brussels-Lugano rules concerning ‘individual contracts of employment’. These constitute one of the crucial exceptional categories of cases in which there is no need for permission to serve abroad.

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Permission to cross-examine medical expert overturned in holiday sickness case

An important recent holiday sickness decision was reported on the Civil Litigation Brief website earlier this month.

Taylor v TUI UK Ltd (Unreported) Newcastle-Upon-Tyne County Court (HHJ Freedman) involved a successful appeal against a case management direction allowing the Defendant tour operator, TUI, to cross-examine the Claimant’s expert at trial.

It is significant not just for holiday sickness litigation, but also for the approach to challenges to expert evidence in Fast Track matters more generally.

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Ryanair challenges travel traffic light system

Something of a newsflash for those yet to see today’s headline story that Ryanair and Manchester Airports Group are launching a legal action over the government’s travel traffic light system.

According to the report, the challenge ‘has been put together after huge frustration within the travel industry at the inclusion of Portugal on the green list in mid-May and then its sudden removal a few weeks later.’ The action apparently enjoys substantial backing in the travel industry, and ‘further signatories to the challenge are set to be revealed on Thursday.’

Whether the prospect of this challenge will force the government to relax the current restrictions on travel in time for the summer holidays remains to be seen. We will of course blog on updates about the nature of the challenge as soon as further details are released.

Greenaway v Parrish: full decision on post-Brexit approach to EU Directives released

We previously blogged about the case of Greenaway & Rocks v Covea Insurance & Others. This was a case in which the various parties were represented by Patrick Vincent QC and Cressida Mawdesley-ThomasPhilip Mead, and Richard Viney, all of 12 King’s Bench Walk.

It is the first decision of which we are aware grappling with the difficult issue of how English courts are now to approach the interpretation of EU Directives.

The full text of the decision has now been released under the citation: Greenaway v Parrish & Ors [2021] EWHC 1506 (QB).

For those interested in a criticial view of the decision, it is worth reading this interesting case note by members of Outer Temple Chambers. They argue that, not only was the judge’s approach not justified under EU law principles as they stood prior to the UK leaving the EU, but it ‘also appears to be prohibited under the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018’.

Court of Appeal: continuing role for EU law supremacy in certain cases

In The Open Rights Group & Anor, R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2021] EWCA Civ 800, the Court of Appeal considered an appeal concerning the lawfulness of statutory restrictions on data protection rights, in the context of immigration.

The point of interest for this blog is the Court’s comments on the continuing relevance of the principle of the supremacy of EU law to cases involving conflicts between retained EU law and pre-exit domestic legislation.

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Dutch court rules on Rome II and applicable law in climate change cases

In what can be described as a truly historic judgment, the Hague District Court ruled yesterday in Milieudefensie et al. v. Royal Dutch Shell (Judgment of 26 March 2021) that Royal Dutch Shell must slash its CO2 emissions (by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels).

Of course, the most interesting part of the judgment is the court’s analysis of the applicable law under article 7 of Rome II. This provision, which deals with “Environmental damage” (the meaning of which caused all kinds of problems in a recent English case), says this:

The law applicable to a non-contractual obligation arising out of environmental damage or damage sustained by persons or property as a result of such damage shall be the law determined pursuant to Article 4(1), unless the person seeking compensation for damage chooses to base his or her claim on the law of the country in which the event giving rise to the damage occurred.

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European Commission formally advises EU to block UK Lugano accession

We previously blogged on reports that the UK’s bid to accede to the Lugano Convention had been opposed by the European Commission at a closed-door meeting with EU diplomats.

The Commission has now released its “Assessment on the application of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to accede to the 2007 Lugano Convention”, available here. It has formally advised the EU not to allow the UK to accede.

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