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Contact with chambers should be made through the Practice Management Team. They are happy to discuss client requirements and provide further information on such matters as the expertise and experience of individual members, fees, working practices and languages spoken. We have members able to work in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Greek and Chinese (Mandarin).

Outside working hours, a member of our team is always available to be contacted on matters of an urgent nature. Contact should be made using the Chambers main number or email.

To contact our Singapore office, please contact our BD Director, Asia, Rachel Foxton. Out of office hours calls will automatically be diverted to our clerking team in London.

London

Twenty Essex Street
London
WC2R 3AL

enquiries@twentyessex.com
t: +44 20 7842 1200
DX 0009 Lond/Chan Lane

Singapore

28 Maxwell Road
#02-03
Maxwell Chambers Suites
Singapore 069120

singapore@twentyessex.com
t: +65 62257230

Contact

Contact with chambers should be made through the Practice Management Team. They are happy to discuss client requirements and provide further information on such matters as the expertise and experience of individual members, fees, working practices and languages spoken. We have members able to work in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Greek and Chinese (Mandarin).

Outside working hours, a member of our team is always available to be contacted on matters of an urgent nature. Contact should be made using the Chambers main number or email.

To contact our Singapore office, please contact our BD Director, Asia, Rachel Foxton. Out of office hours calls will automatically be diverted to our clerking team in London.

London

Twenty Essex Street
London
WC2R 3AL

enquiries@twentyessex.com
t: +44 20 7842 1200
DX 0009 Lond/Chan Lane

Singapore

28 Maxwell Road
#02-03
Maxwell Chambers Suites
Singapore 069120

singapore@twentyessex.com
t: +65 62257230

09/11/2016

Submission: Golden Endurance v RMA Watanya

This is an archived article, and some links may not work. Contact us if you have any questions.

Golden Endurance Shipping SA v RMA Watanya SA [2016] EWHC 2110 (Comm)

An interesting recent judgment of Phillips J in the Commercial Court has clarified the law concerning submission to the jurisdiction of a foreign court.  20 Essex Street’s Michael Collett QC was instructed for the claimant.

The court held that a Moroccan judgment would not be recognised in England because the claimant had not submitted to the jurisdiction of the Moroccan court. Although the claimant had appeared in the Moroccan proceedings, it had done so in order to ask the court to stay the Moroccan proceedings in favour of arbitration and had only engaged with the merits as it was obliged to do so under Moroccan law.

As a result, the claimant ship-owner was not estopped by a Moroccan judgment from asking an English court for a declaration of non-liability for alleged damage to a cargo.

Three aspects of the judgment are of particular interest.

First, Phillips J held that the question of whether or not a party has submitted to the jurisdiction of a foreign court did not an involve an exercise of discretion. Instead, it was a question of mixed law and fact to which there is a single answer.

Secondly, Phillips J dismissed the defendants’ submission that a challenge to the jurisdiction of a foreign court must be a “rational” one in order for a party to benefit from the protection in s.33(1)(b) of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982. This had been suggested by the authors of Dicey & Morris.

The judge did, however, leave open the possibility that in an extreme case “where a challenge is so obviously absurd (in the context of the applicable foreign law and procedural rules) … the English court might conclude that the party advancing it has in reality submitted”.

Finally, Phillips J held that the the claimant had not committed an abuse of process.  The claimant had begun court proceedings in England but, when in Morocco, had asserted the existence of an arbitration agreement. Phillips J held that it was not inconsistent to argue a point as a matter of foreign law whilst recognising (in parallel proceedings) that it would not succeed as a matter of English law. Further, the judge noted that the claimant had not actually denied the existence of an arbitration agreement in the English proceedings.

The judgment also considered the time-bar under the Hague Rules.

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