Court considers whether an asymmetric jurisdiction clause conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the English court

Article 25 of EU Regulation 1215/2012 provides that if the parties agree that the courts of an EU Member State have jurisdiction, those courts will have exclusive jurisdiction (unless the parties agree otherwise). Accordingly, if the courts of any other Member State are seised, those courts shall stay their proceedings. The issue in this case was whether an asymmetric jurisdiction clause confers exclusive jurisdiction.

In an asymmetric jurisdiction clause, one of the parties must bring proceedings in a certain Member State, whereas the other party can choose to bring proceedings elsewhere. So, for example, in this case, one of the parties agreed that the English courts had jurisdiction, whereas the other party could bring proceedings in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Cranston J held that the clause conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the English court, so it could hear the case, even though it was not the courts first seised: "That this applies in respect of a claim by the defendants alone does not detract from this effect".