Jurisdictional gateways – English court’s jurisdiction in breach of contract dispute
A recent High Court decision (Coward -vAmbrosiadou  EWHC 2105 (Comm)) reviewed the jurisdictional gateways for commencing proceedings in England and Wales against a non-EU based defendant. Depending upon the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, jurisdictional considerations may become a more regular consideration in any litigation.
The English court’s jurisdiction over defendants domiciled outside the EU is governed by the common law regime, specifically CPR 6.36, 6.37 and Practice Direction (PD) 6B. In particular, permission of the English court is required to serve an English claim form on such a defendant outside the jurisdiction. Permission will only be granted if three conditions are met, namely:
- Good arguable case - there is a good arguable case that the claim is covered by one of the ‘gateways’ in PD 6B.3.1 (see below).
- Serious issue to be tried - there is a serious issue to be tried on the merits of the claim.
- Appropriate forum - England and Wales is clearly or distinctly the appropriate forum for the trial of the dispute, and in all of the circumstances the court should exercise its discretion to permit service of the proceedings out of the jurisdiction