Insolvency, universality and forum non conveniens. Manx Court in Interdevelco seeing ‘”the challenges of our time through the world’s eye”.

I have only just now bumped into it [the judgment, not the Island; bumping into the latter would require one to be sailing, a delightful proposition however not one for which it is the right season]: in  Interdevelco Limited v Waste2energy Group Holdings Plc (October 10 2012), the Isle of Man High Court declined to accept jurisdiction in insolvency proceedings against a company incorporated in the Isle of Man. Waste2Energy may be incorporated in the Isle of Man – it has however considerable commercial connections in the US, where other companies within the group are located, and is subject to insolvency proceedings there.

The Manx court had jurisdiction in principle, on the basis of the incorporation there. However Manx rules on civil procedure include a general forum non conveniens rule, and its insolvency laws express clear preference for universality. The combination of both with comity, led the high Court to relinquish jurisdiction in favour of the US.

Importantly, the EU’s Insolvency Regulation does not apply to the Isle of Man. Had it done so, this outcome would have been a lot more difficult, if not impossible to obtain: whence seeing ‘”the challenges of our time through the world’s eye” (the judgment quoting Justice Michael Kirby) would have been a lot more difficult.


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