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High Court considers jurisdiction over non-EU defendant in proceedings also including domestic defendants

30 January 2015

The decision in Jong v HSBC Private Bank (Monaco) SA and others[i]serves as a useful reminder that the Court will be guided by the substance, and not the form, of proceedings when considering questions of jurisdiction.

Including English-domiciled defendants as anchor defendants in a claim against a foreign entity may get a claimant through one of jurisdictional gateways in CPR Practice Direction 6B, paragraph 3.1, but it will be of little value if the claimant nevertheless has poor prospects of establishing that England is that proper place for the claim. 

In Jong, the Chancery Division considered an application by the defendants to set aside permission to serve proceedings outside the jurisdiction on a defendant domiciled in Monaco, in proceedings where the two remaining defendants were domiciled in England.

In relation to application to serve HSBC Monaco outside of the jurisdiction, the Claimant could establish one of the jurisdictional "gateways" in the CPR Practice Direction 6B and could show that the claim has a real prospect of success.  However, the court was concerned with whether England was the proper place to bring the claim.

The defendants' position was that the claim against HSBC Monaco was clearly Mrs Jong's real focus and that the claims against the English defendants were 'parasitic' on that claim and had been introduced only to bolster the jurisdictional case against HSBC Monaco.

The Court agreed with the defendants that HSBC Monaco was the main defendant and that the English defendants were 'bit-players, having little, if anything, to add to the main claim against HSBC Monaco'.

To read the full article, please click here.

[i] [2014] EWHC 4165 (Ch)

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