Tate v Allianz. Action en cas d’aggravation held to be a new claim, blocking lis alibi pendens.

In Tate v Allianz IARD SA (A Company Incorporated Under the Laws of France) [2020] EWHC 3227 (QB) the E&W courts undoubtedly have jurisdiction on the basis of the insurance Title of BIa. Claimant is a UK national domiciled in the UK. Defendant insurer is domiciled in France. Claimant suffered injury as a pedestrian in Boulogne-sur-Mer when in 1991 he was struck by a bus belonging to a local bus company and insured by the Defendant. He sued in France in 1994.

In the event of deterioration in a claimant’s condition, French law allows a further claim, known as an ‘action en cas d’aggravation’, to be made for additional compensation. That is the claim now pending and in which defendant argues lack of jurisdiction on the basis of lis alibi pendens: the suggested ‘lis’ being the initial, 1994 and by reason of the aggravation element, ‘open’ claim as it were.

Reference by counsel is largely to Gubisch Maschinenfabrik and to The Tatry, Soole J added The Alexandros. On ‘action pending’ he holds that there is no such action. Although the notion must be an autonomous, EU one, nevertheless the impact of the French rules must have an impact. Here, at 57, the action ‘en cas d’aggravation’ is held to be free-standing and not to depend upon any prior order or permission from the court nor require any reservation of right by the claimant. Soole J holds that the French 1994 proceedings have come to an end. They are res judicata and current action is a new one.  There cannot therefore be a risk of irreconcilability, either, regardless of the double actionability rule which the English courts will apply (Rome II not applying as a result of its scope ratione temporis) and of the fact that the assessment of damages will be viewed by them as one of procedure, subject to lex fori (again, given that Rome II does not apply).

At 68 ‘same parties’ and ‘same cause of action’ are dealt with obiter.

Geert.

European Private International Law, 3rd ed. 2021, 2.512 ff.

 

 

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