A further instalment in the Prestige litigation. The Court of Appeal largely confirms first instance judgments.

London Steam-Ship Owners’ Mutual Insurance Association Limited v Kingdom of Spain & Anor (M/T ‘Prestige’ Nos. 3 and 4) [2021] EWCA Civ 1589 is yet another judgment in the Prestige series on which I have reported before (use of the search tag ‘Prestige’ brings you to 4 earlier posts). I often refer to the comparative advantage of civil procedure in England and Wales, inter alia relating to the speed of procedures. Current litigation most certainly does not fit that bill: it is slow, opaque and dense with issues, arguments have been allowed to run in a convoluted way, and a certain amount of consolidation would have been in order, I submit.

The judgment in this post is the appeal against the judgment of Henshaw J on arbitration and State immunity, and the judgment of Butcher J on service, state immunity and the insurance title of Brussels Ia.

In summary, Henshaw J’s judgment stands (he had held Spain does not have immunity in respect of these proceedings; that the permission to serve the arbitration obligation our of jurisdiction, granted earlier to the Club should stand; and that the court should appoint an arbitrator);  Butcher J’s judgment also largely stands, but for his decision on the ‘Award Claims’ (the Club seeking liability and damages for breach of the State’s obligation to honour the arbitration award which had declared the State bound to pursue its claims in London arbitration). The Court of Appeal held, as did Butcher J, that the arbitration exception applies to the Award Claims (an unlikely analogy featured with CJEU Assens Havn) and that jurisdiction for them must be determined in accordance with domestic law principles [84], however unlike the first instance judge it found [126] there is no serious issue to be tried on the award claims.

Geert.

 

EU Private international law, 3rd ed. 2021, 2.84 ff.

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