The Supreme Court recently dismissed an appeal, holding that the right to replacement under an insurance policy cannot be assigned where the insured party has not incurred the reinstatement costs. The case should be considered by homeowners and their brokers when choosing a replacement home insurance policy and by purchasers and their advisers if assignment of claims is in prospect.
Determining a court's jurisdiction in cross-border class actions involving pure financial damage has proven difficult in practice. This is particularly true when jurisdiction is based on the special competence rules set out in the recast EU Brussels Regulation. The Dutch Shareholders Association v British Petroleum is a good example of the confusion surrounding this matter. After two lower court rulings, the Dutch Supreme Court has applied to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling to gain further clarity.
In a recent case involving a man killed on a motorway, the High Court set out the difference between evidence which will be subject to Civil Procedure Rule (CPR) 35's restrictions and that which will not. Specifically, where relevant opinion evidence (even hearsay) is prepared by someone qualified to give expert evidence, it will generally be prima facie admissible. However, where evidence is produced by an expert instructed by the parties for the purposes of the proceedings, it will be subject to CPR 35.
The Federal Court recently held that Sections 8 and 10 of the Arbitration Act do not apply to a non-party to an arbitration agreement. The appellant in the case was granted leave to appeal to the Federal Court on two questions of law, including whether the requirements of Section 10 of the act must be met by a party litigant seeking an injunction to restrain the prosecution of an arbitration to which it is not a party but which would affect its proprietary rights.
The Supreme Court recently confirmed a first-instance decision which had annulled a transfer of shares by a debtor to his son. The Supreme Court found that the debtor had acted fraudulently to prevent his creditor from executing a court judgment which had been issued in the creditor's favour. The Supreme Court also found that the issuance of a decree on the sale of shares as a means of enforcing the decision against the debtor was possible.
The Court of Appeal recently upheld a High Court judgment, confirming New Zealand's adaption of the recast rule. In doing so, the Court of Appeal has set out the context for adopting the revised rule. However, as the appellant has been granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, the final word is awaited.
In a 2018 decision, the Luxembourg District Court found a liquidator liable for damages which the plaintiffs had suffered as a result of the early closure of the liquidation while legal proceedings were still ongoing. The court held that since the liquidator had personally received the document instituting the proceedings, he should not have ignored any claims that might have arisen from the ongoing dispute. Notably, the court went even further by also holding the liquidation auditor liable.
The Court of Appeal has refused permission to appeal an apparently wide-ranging order for the production of documents made in favour of the liquidators in China Medical Technologies Inc v Tsang. Despite the respondent's best efforts, the Court of Appeal decided that the issues stated to arise out of its judgment did not raise questions of great general or public importance. The outcome of the appeal is bolstered by a legislative amendment which amounts to a more coextensive power.
The High Court has held that a delay in applying for a world freezing order was not fatal to its continuation at the return date, as the underlying transactions provided solid evidence of a risk of dissipation and the delay in seeking relief was not material and did not evidence the absence of a genuine belief in that risk. While the court may be reluctant to freeze assets on the basis of historic transactions, the ultimate question is whether solid evidence exists of a risk of dissipation even if the trail goes somewhat cold thereafter.
Two recent Irish court rulings have helped to shed light on the role of the national courts in state aid cases. These cases are particularly relevant as the role of the courts is likely to continue to grow in importance for Irish clients in the coming years. In the first, the Supreme Court strongly affirmed the Circuit Court's jurisdiction to hear state aid allegations. In the second, the High Court determined that examinership does not trump a state aid decision from the European Commission ordering recovery.
The European Commission recently published a study which identifies the emerging trends and best practices with regard to the national courts' enforcement of state aid law across the European Union. In terms of trends, the study highlights that national courts rarely conclude that unlawful state aid has been granted (by their national authorities) and hence have rarely awarded remedies in favour of complainants that allege that state aid has been granted. This trend is particularly evident in relation to damages claims.
A party's attempt to circumvent a jurisdiction clause by bringing tortious claims against a third party has been thwarted by the High Court. In granting an anti-suit injunction, the court explored the substance of the claims and found them to be vexatious and oppressive and designed to evade the exclusive jurisdiction clause. This case demonstrates the courts' willingness to look into the substance of an impugned foreign claim in order to assess whether it is a tactic designed to evade an exclusive jurisdiction clause.
The Netherlands has long been considered one of the most favourable jurisdictions in which to arrest a ship. A recent Aruba Court ruling is set to enhance this reputation by further liberalising the procedural rules, removing the need for a bailiff to board a ship in order to execute an arrest. The decision is expected to play a role in ship arrest cases throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands where bad weather conditions, or even deliberate obstruction, may prevent bailiffs from boarding ships.
As a recent European Court of Justice opinion is likely to be adopted by Swiss legal doctrine and precedent, parties domiciled in Switzerland may be targeted by avoidance claims in another signatory state of the Lugano Convention based on a contract to which they were not a party but that was merely concluded between the debtor and a creditor.
The High Court recently provided a further reminder of the perils of failing to comply with the duty of full and frank disclosure on ex parte applications. This case highlights the onerous burden on applications for worldwide freezing orders to carry out reasonable enquiries to comply with the duty of full and frank disclosure. The court expects applicants to properly investigate the factual basis of their own assertions and that of the likely defence.
The Beirut Supreme Court has ruled that arbitration clauses in exclusive distribution agreements signed with Lebanese representatives are invalid. Thus, only Lebanese courts have jurisdiction to settle disputes between the parties to such agreements. By adopting this approach, the Beirut Supreme Court has enforced the traditional position which grants Lebanese exclusive distributors a high level of protection.
The High Court recently implied a term into a contract for the sale of government global depositary notes by Lehman Brothers International (Europe) in order to make the contract workable. The decision is of interest because it considers how the courts should address a situation where the subjective expectation of the parties at the time is clear, but the objective intention apparent from their bargain is more difficult to determine, particularly where the objective interpretation may lead to a contract being incapable of being performed.
In China Medical Technologies Inc (In Liquidation) v Bank of East Asia Ltd, the court granted an ex parte order extending the validity of a writ, effectively giving the plaintiffs an additional year in which to effect service. The High Court has now discharged that order with the consequences that service was set aside and the action dismissed. This is the latest in a number of similar decisions and suggests that the courts will in future scrutinise extension applications much more closely.
The Supreme Court has issued a new regulation on e-litigation which significantly expands the scope of earlier regulations and envisages the eventual development of a full-blown electronic court system, which would mean that proceedings could be commenced, court fees paid, documents and pleadings submitted, hearings conducted and judgments pronounced electronically.
The Supreme Court recently ended a conflict between the appeal courts and clarified that for any decision rendered exclusively on a jurisdictional issue, the party that wants to appeal such decision must file a motivated statement for appeal and, more importantly, appeal to the first president of the relevant appeal court through a formal request in order to obtain a fixed date on which the case will be heard. Otherwise, the statement of appeal will be declared void.