In Strategic Technologies v Procurement Bureau of the Republic of China Ministry of National Defence  EWHC 362 (QB), Carr J i.a. set aside a November 2016 order by Supperstone J granting a certificate under Article 53 Brussels Ia.
Justice Carr adopts the routine approach of former English case-law calling the Brussels regime the ‘Judgments Regulation’. The certificate was issued in relation to a default judgment issued in 2009 by Claimant, Strategic Technologies against Defendant, the Ministry of National Defence (“the MND”) of the Republic of China (“ROC”), also and better known as Taiwan.
Carr J is right when at 134 ff she rejects the route taken by claimants (and adopted by Supperstone J) that the principle in CJEU C-192/92 Owens Bank v Bracco (that the Brussels Convention does not apply to proceedings for the enforcement of judgments given in civil and commercial matters in non-contracting states) has no application where, as here, the judgment of a non-contracting state (ie Cayman) has become a judgment of a Member State (ie the United Kingdom).
She refers to the clear language in formerly A25 Brussels Convention, now Article 2 Brussels Ia, that for a ruling to be a judgment it must be given by a court or a tribunal of a Member State. Adoption of a judgment by another State is not covered. She notes the CJEU referred to this definition in its Owens Bank v Bracco ruling. She also notes that the St. Vincent judgment in Owens v Bracco had in fact also been registered in England by the time that the House of Lords referred the matter to the CJEU.
Other issues in the judgment are less relevant to the blog. Do note that Taiwan does not call upon sovereign immunity: at 3: ‘The MND is an arm of the government of the ROC. Although it is by its own law a state, the ROC has an unusual status in international, and English, law: although it has all the generally recognised characteristics of statehood, and is often treated as a country, it is not recognised as a state by the United Kingdom and there are no formal diplomatic relations between the two. For the purpose of these proceedings only, and without making any wider concession, the MND does not rely on the State Immunity Act 1978.’ Clearly this case was not considered by Taiwan to be a case to force the recognition issue.