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Law Notes Conflict of Laws Notes

Relationship Between Bir And English Rules Notes

Updated Relationship Between Bir And English Rules Notes

Conflict of Laws Notes

Conflict of Laws

Approximately 333 pages

Conflict of Laws notes fully updated for recent exams in the UK. These notes cover all the major conflicts of laws cases and so are perfect for anyone doing a law degree in the UK or, given the international nature of this subject, these notes also make a great supplement for those studying law abroad.

These notes were formed directly from a reading of the cases and main texts and are vigorous, concise and very well written. Everything is conveniently split up by topic as you can see by the l...

The following is a more accessible plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Conflict of Laws Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:


Forum Non Conveniens and the Brussels Regulation

  1. Where national jurisdiction derives from national law (pursuant to Article 4), courts can stay in favour of non-Member States

  2. Where national jurisdiction derives from Art 2 BIR, courts cannot stay in favour of non-Member States on basis of forum non conveniens

    Owusu v Jackson [2005] (ECJ)

    English courts had previously thought that stay was possible where they had Art 2 jurisdiction

    Re Harrods (Buenos Aires) [1992]

    NB may still stay in favour of Member States (Art 27+28)

  1. Alternative Bases of Jurisdiction

  1. Article 5

    Reasoning in Owusu subsequently applied where court had jurisdiction under Article 5(6)

    Gomez v Gomez-Moche Vives [2008]

  2. Article 23

    Suggested that Owusu reasoning applies where court has exclusive Art 23 jurisdiction

    Equitas Ltd v AllstateInsurance [2008]

    Skype Technologies v Joltid Ltd [2009]

    However doubted whether Owusu applies where court has non-exclusive Art 23 jurisdiction.

    Antec International v Biosafety USA [2006]


Surely argument with Article 23 is same as that for Article 5

i.e. where court is seised under Article 23, it is just as seised as it is under Article 2

Could be argued that as Art 2 is the ‘kingpin’ jurisdiction, Owusu is a special case

However this argument unlikely to get very far

  1. Prior Proceedings in Third State

No Stay

Irish court held it had no power to stay proceedings where it had BIR jurisdiction even though parallel proceedings were taking place in a non-Member State

Goshawk Dedicated Life v Life Receivables Ireland [2008] (Irish Case)

This approach followed in subsequent English case

i.e. stay is done on forum non conveniens grounds

thus rationale behind Owusu applies equally

Catalyst Investment Group v Lewinsohn [2010]


Alternatively, has been held that English court has discretion to stay where there are pending parallel proceedings in a non-Member State

Lucasfilm v Ainsworth [2009] (obiter)

JKN v JCN [2011]

Catalyst has been expressly disapproved in recent case

Ferrexpo [2012]

Hard to see how ECJ will JK/Ferrexpo to stand. Contrary to teleological approach.

  1. Jurisdiction Clause in Favour of Third State

    Held that court may stay proceedings where there is jurisdiction clause in favour of a non-Member State

    certainly where clause is exclusive, though possibly also where clause is non-exclusive

    Konkola Copper Mines v Coromin [2005] (obiter)

    Winnetka Trading Corp v Julius Baer International [2009] (ratio)

    Reasons given:

  1. Owusu concerned doctrine of forum non conveniens

    however where court stays on basis of jurisdiction clause, forum non conveniens doctrine not in play (thus Owusu cannot apply)

    Winnetka [2009]

  2. Possibly supported by Schlosser Report

    Konkola Copper Mines [2005]

    This proposition perhaps supported by ECJ case law.

    Coreck Maritime [2000] (ECJ)

  1. Article 22

    Held that court may stay proceedings in situations where Art 22 has reflexive effect

    Ferrexpo v Gilson Investments [2012]

    This decision reached in context of validity of company resolutions

    However seems reasoning also applicable in relation to immovable property

    English courts traditionally believe they have no subject-matter jurisdiction in relation to foreign land

    British South Africa Co [1893]

    Thus technically discretion to grant a stay does not come into play whatsoever


Ultimately answer to above questions depends on what interpretation is given to Owusu.

And ECJ has not been called upon to answer any of these questions.

  1. Alternative Interpretations

    Alternative interpretations of Owusu are:

  1. ECJ objects to any use of national law for staying of actions

  2. ECJ objects to use of discretion (i.e. forum conveniens)

  3. ECJ objects to use of national law where this does not reflect provisions of Regulation

  1. No Use of National Law

    One reading of Owusu suggests that under no circumstances can national law be used for the staying of actions

    Paragraph 34 of Owusu

    i.e. Regulation designed to “eliminate obstacles to functioning of internal market”

    and such obstacles “may derive from disparities between national legislations”

    This is the absolutist approach

    Goshawk + Catalyst Investment

    Would be the definitive end to any staying of actions in favour of non-Member States where jurisdiction based on BIR.

  2. No Use of Discretion

    Another interpretation of Owusu is that non-discretionary grounds of declining jurisdiction under national law are ok

    e.g. immovable property in non-Member State

    Thus is only where ground of declining jurisdiction is discretionary that there can be no stay

    e.g. non-exclusive jurisdiction clause

    Case law:

    Skype Technologies [2009] (supports this view)

    Winnetka Trading Corp [2009], Konkola Copper Mines [2005] (do not support this view)

  3. ‘Reflexive Effect’

    Another interpretation of Owusu is that relevant provisions of the Regulation have reflexive effect in national law

    i.e. that where the issues raised reflect the position between Member States under the Regulation, court has discretion to stay in favour of non-Member State.

    E.g. Articles 22, 23, 27 and 28.

    Possibility mentioned (but neither rejected nor approved) by AG Léger in Owusu.

    Given support by English cases

    Konkola Copper Mines [2005]

    JKN v JCN [2010]

    Ferrexpo [2012]

    English courts may stay e.g if German court has Article 22 jurisdiction (immovable property). Thus argued that the ‘reflexive effect’ of this is that English courts may stay if the case concerns immovable property in a non-Member State


Unclear what scope doctrine of reflexive effect has:

  1. Liberal

  • i.e. national courts retain discretion to stay wherever issues involved are broadly the same as those addressed by provisions of Regulation

  • very uncertain – thus unlikely given hostility of ECJ in Owusu towards discretion

  1. Medium

  • i.e. national courts retain discretion to stay where, had the non-Member State been a Member State, they would have been obliged by...

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