Place of habitual employment and the alternative findings of corporate ‘domicile’- The Employment Appeal Tribunal in Powell

In David Powell v OMV Exploration and production limited, the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled on the (absence of) jurisdiction for UK courts in the case of a UK domiciled employee, employed originally to work from Yemen but in reality working from Dubai, hired by a Manx incorporated company run from Austria. The employment contract was subject to Manx law and to a choice of court agreement in favour of the courts of the Isle of Man. The Tribunal however ruled that the case was within the scope of the Brussels I Regulation – albeit like the tribunal itself, the Appeal tribunal does not systematically review the three alternative grounds for domicile of Article 60 of the Jurisdiction Regulation.

Domicile was found to be in Austria, for this is the place where the company was effectively managed from. The UK could claim jurisdiction on the basis of Article 19, were the employee found to habitually work in the UK – quod non.

A classic example of the employment chapter of the JR, with a bit of exotic flavouring (Manx) and, even if not altogether tidy, a correct conclusion on Austrian domicile.



Insolvency, universality and forum non conveniens. Manx Court in Interdevelco seeing ‘”the challenges of our time through the world’s eye”.

I have only just now bumped into it [the judgment, not the Island; bumping into the latter would require one to be sailing, a delightful proposition however not one for which it is the right season]: in  Interdevelco Limited v Waste2energy Group Holdings Plc (October 10 2012), the Isle of Man High Court declined to accept jurisdiction in insolvency proceedings against a company incorporated in the Isle of Man. Waste2Energy may be incorporated in the Isle of Man – it has however considerable commercial connections in the US, where other companies within the group are located, and is subject to insolvency proceedings there.

The Manx court had jurisdiction in principle, on the basis of the incorporation there. However Manx rules on civil procedure include a general forum non conveniens rule, and its insolvency laws express clear preference for universality. The combination of both with comity, led the high Court to relinquish jurisdiction in favour of the US.

Importantly, the EU’s Insolvency Regulation does not apply to the Isle of Man. Had it done so, this outcome would have been a lot more difficult, if not impossible to obtain: whence seeing ‘”the challenges of our time through the world’s eye” (the judgment quoting Justice Michael Kirby) would have been a lot more difficult.


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