Exclusive jurisdiction and the ability to confer international jurisdiction on courts in a different Member State (Tiger and Others)

Exclusive jurisdiction and the ability to confer international jurisdiction on courts in a different Member State (Tiger and Others)  

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the jurisdiction in respect of an action brought in France by a trustee in bankruptcy appointed by a court in the UK seeking a declaration in relation to property within France. The ECJ ruled that the action derived directly from the main insolvency proceedings and was ‘closely connected’ to those proceedings on the basis that the action arose by virtue of UK bankruptcy law and was brought as part of the trustee’s general duties. Therefore, the UK had exclusive jurisdiction in respect of the trustee’s action. Although the UK courts had authorised the trustee to bring an action in France, this did not amount to conferring international jurisdiction on the French courts. Written by Alan Bennett, partner and head of Restructuring and Insolvency at Ashfords LLP.

Tiger and Others (Judicial cooperation in civil matters—Insolvency proceedings—Judgment) [2019] EUECJ C-493/18 (04 December 2019)

What are the practical implications of this case?

The ECJ’s reasoning regarding whether the action fell within Art 3(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1346/2000 on Insolvency Proceedings (Insolvency Regulation) (the Insolvency Regulation) focused on the fact that the action being brought was based on UK insolvency law, notwithstanding that the property was situated in another Member State. Any similar actions brought by an office-holder under the Insolvency Act 1986—or under similar laws in other Member States—are therefore likely to be considered to fall within Art 3(1) of the Insolvency Regulation. The effect would be to make the actions subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Member State in which the insolvency proceedings were opened, regardless of the location of the property.

It is also possible to apply the principles in the decision by analogy to the equivalent provisions in (Recast) Regulation (EU) 2015/848 on insolvency proceedings.

What was the background?

In August 2008, a German company, Wirecard, obtained a freezing order from the UK court over the assets of a Netherlands national, UB. At the time, UB owned an apartment and property complex in France. Later that month, UB and his sister, VA, signed an acknowledgmen

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About the author:

Zahra started working as a paralegal at Lexis Nexis in Banking and Insolvency teams in April 2019. Zahra graduated with a 2.1 honours in a BA French and Spanish, completed the GDL at BPP University and is seeking some experience before commencing the LPC. She has undertaken voluntary work for law firms in London, Argentina and Colombia.