Commencing proceedings in two separate countries has just become that little bit easier. The QLD Court of Appeal has confirmed that forum shopping is possible in certain cases, opening up a range of recovery possibilities.
The case involved a $15 million loan facility between Telesto and ANZ, guaranteed by the directors of Telesto. The agreements were all executed in Singapore, with the Singaporean courts given non-exclusive jurisdiction. Telesto also granted ANZ a mortgage over a property on the Gold Coast to secure the facility.
When it all fell apart, ANZ commenced proceedings in Singapore to recover the amounts owing under the facility and, separately in QLD, for possession of the land subject to the mortgage.
Should both proceedings have been commenced in a single court? This was one question for the QLD court when deciding whether to enforce ANZ’s judgment from Singapore.
Not surprisingly, the Singaporean courts don’t have jurisdiction to grant judgments for possession of land on the Gold Coast. If they’d tried to exercise that jurisdiction, the QLD court would not have recognised the judgment.
While it seems the QLD court would have had jurisdiction to hear the whole of the dispute, the Singaporean proceedings were commenced first. ANZ could have chosen to commence solely in QLD, but was equally entitled to continue the Singaporean proceedings. Perhaps the lure of chilli crab was just too strong.
Obviously commencing proceedings in two jurisdictions isn’t without risk. There will be the additional cost of running two cases, and you’ll need to be sure that the case is suited to dual judgments. It may not be the most efficient way to go about recovery of your debts, but depending on the case, it could give a better chance of complete recovery.