Jurisdiction issues are invariably complex, requiring a careful application of conflicts of law principles to the facts of each case. For the uninitiated, there may seem to be a bewildering matrix of potentially relevant sources of private international law. However, whether it happens to be the Recast Brussels Regulation that is relevant or the common law doctrine of forum non conveniens, there are certain general situations and factors which come into play when deciding whether to assert or contest jurisdiction. It is also not an overstatement to say that in some cross-border disputes, the initial decision over where the claim should proceed can be critical to the ultimate outcome. It is not uncommon for claims to settle very quickly once the jurisdiction position has been determined, whether the judgement permits the proceedings to go forward, or sets them aside. However, as the stakes can be high, there is a natural risk of parties either pursuing their case on jurisdiction to a point where the courts lose sympathy, or conducting it in a manner which the courts regard as disproportionate. All of which begs the following question: when is jurisdiction worth fighting over, and at what point should the parties to a dispute draw a line under this issue?

In any given case, there may be many reasons why a claimant may decide to bring proceedings in one jurisdiction over another, or why it may be appropriate for the defendant to challenge the claimant’s choice. However, five considerations which commonly arise are discussed below.

Jul-Sep 2019 issue

Norton Rose Fulbright LLP