J v H Limited. Pikamae AG emphasises the ‘safety valve’ of disciplining fellow European judges’ incorrect decisions on the scope of application of EU private international law.

I am hoping to tackle some of the pre-Christmas queue this week, kicking off with the Opinion (no English version available) of Pikamae AG in C-568/20 J v H Limited. The case concerns the enforcement of a 2019 decision of the England & Wales High Court [I believe that judgment is Arab Jordan Investment Bank Plc & Anor v Sharbain [2019] EWHC 860 (Comm). The dates do not quite correspond (6 days of) but the amounts and line of argument do].

Clearly the UK were still a Member State at the time. The English decision was based, in turn, on two Jordanian judgments of 2013. It had rejected, on the basis of the English common law (judgments issued outside the EU are not subject to EU recognition and enforcement rules), the arguments against enforcement in the UK. The judge subsequently issued an Article 53 Brussels Ia certificate.

The issue is not whether a judgment merely confirming a non-EU judgment, may be covered by Article 53 Brussels Ia. CJEU Owens Bank has already held they cannot (see Handbook, 3rd ed. 2021, 2.573). The issue is rather whether, exequatur having been abandoned in Brussels Ia, arguments as to whether the judgment in the State of origin be at all covered by Brussels Ia, may be raised by way of an Article 45 objection to recognition and enforcement.

CJEU Diageo Brands, among others, has confirmed the narrow window for refusal of recognition on the basis of ordre public. The AG suggests wrong decisions on the scope of application of BIa, leading to incorrect A53 certificates, may fall within that category. Far from upsetting the principle of mutual trust, he suggests it is a necessary ‘safety valve’, a “soupape de sécurité » (40) which assist with said mutual trust. The AG qualifies the opinion by suggesting the issuing of an A53 certificate for a judgment that merely enforces an ex-EU judgment, is a grave error in the scope of application of the Regulation.

Should the CJEU confirm, discussion of course will ensue as to what are clear errors in the scope of application, or indeed in the very interpretation of Brussels Ia.

Geert.

EU Private International Law, 3rd ed 2021, Heading 2.2.17.1.

One Reply to “J v H Limited. Pikamae AG emphasises the ‘safety valve’ of disciplining fellow European judges’ incorrect decisions on the scope of application of EU private international law.”

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