The recast Brussels Regulation introduced significant changes to the EU rules on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments for proceedings from 10 January 2015. One change of particular importance in the employment law sphere is that an employer domiciled outside the EU can now be sued by an employee in the courts of the EU member state where (or from where) the employee habitually works (or, if none, the member state where the business which engaged the employee is situated).

This contrasts with the position under the original Brussels Regulation, where the employer could only be sued in a member state court if it had a branch, agency or other establishment there. Otherwise the court would only have jurisdiction (if at all) based on its own conflict of laws rules.

So for example, under the recast Regulation, an employee who habitually works in England for a US employer can sue that employer in England whether or not the employer has an establishment here. There is no need for the court’s permission to serve proceedings on the defendant out of the jurisdiction.