Thank you Gilles Cuniberti for flagging and discussing the French Supreme Court’s judgment in JE and B v Barclay Pharmaceuticals [cross-referral to the English judgment makes this Barclay Pharmaceuticals v Mekni]. Much of this post is already included in prof Cuniberti’s posts.
The core of the case concerns the enforcement of an English judgment [Barclay Pharmaceuticals Ltd v Antoine Mekni and others,  6 WLUK 461] which, in assisting Barclay Pharmaceuticals with enforcement of an earlier established £8.7 million debt (since accrued with costs etc to about £12 million), had declaratorily held that a large number of bank accounts and other entities which for the most part purport to belong to parties other than Mr Mekni, are in truth owned by him. Mr Mekni did not appear in the English declaratory relief proceedings hence did not there object to jurisdiction.
The relevant issue in the French proceedings for the purposes of the blog, is first of all Article 24(3) Brussels Ia’s exclusive jurisdiction for ‘proceedings which have as their object the validity of entries in public registers’. As Gilles had earlier discussed, here the Supreme Court [5-6] held that an English judgment determining ownership in shares held in public registers, does not engage ‘the validity of entries in public registers’, for said exclusive jurisdiction, it holds, only extends to the formal validity of such entry, not to the ownership of the assets related to the entry.
As Gilles notes, it was possible for the SC succinctly to deal with the A24(3) argument for under the applicable French law relating to the type of corporation involved, whose shares were the object of the proceedings, the only impact of the (non-obligatory) registration was to create limited third party effect; registration has no bearing on the existence, validity and ownership of the shares. Professor Cuniberti justifiably signals that a distinction between substantive and formal validity may not always be easily made.
The second issue of note to the blog, is the issue of service. A43(1) BIa prescribes that
Where enforcement is sought of a judgment given in another Member State, the certificate issued pursuant to Article 53 shall be served on the person against whom the enforcement is sought prior to the first enforcement measure. The certificate shall be accompanied by the judgment, if not already served on that person.
Recital 32 adds
In order to inform the person against whom enforcement is sought of the enforcement of a judgment given in another Member State, the certificate established under this Regulation, if necessary accompanied by the judgment, should be served on that person in reasonable time before the first enforcement measure. In this context, the first enforcement measure should mean the first enforcement measure after such service
In the case at issue, service happened at 2:55 PM and enforcement at 3 PM. Does that leave a ‘reasonable time’? I share Gilles’ frustration that the SC  merely replied that French CPR does not require the SC to engage with grounds of appeal that are manifestly unarguable
En application de l’article 1014, alinéa 2, du code de procédure civile, il n’y a pas lieu de statuer par une décision spécialement motivée sur ces griefs qui ne sont manifestement pas de nature à entraîner la cassation.
The take-away from this is that the SC in the circumstances did not see a clear infringement of A43 juncto A53 BIa. That does of course leave a lot of speculation as to when the timing of service might lead to enforcement issues – crucial too, I would suggest, in case of provisional measures.