Avoiding enforcement of default judgment: Vizcaya Partners Ltd v Picard [2016] UKPC 5

In its advice delivered today on appeal from the Gibraltar Court of Appeal, the Privy Council examines when a judgment debtor will be regarded as having agreed to the jurisdiction of a foreign court (in advance rather than by appearance) so that a foreign default judgment may be enforced against him in another jurisdiction (in this case Gibraltar).  The Board’s advice also provides a convenient summary of the role of experts on foreign law.

The Board’s advice is given by Lord Collins (editor of the leading text Dicey, Morris and Collins on the Conflict of Laws).  It examines a great deal of apparently conflicting previous authority. It is therefore not surprising that the Board considered the case so important that it has delivered its advice notwithstanding the settlement, post hearing, of the underlying dispute.

The conclusion reached is that an agreement to submit to the foreign court’s jurisdiction may be implied. Continue reading

“May” or “must” arbitrate – what’s needed for a stay? Anzen Ltd v Hermes One Ltd [2016] UKPC 1

This advice delivered on 18 January 2016 by the Privy Council (a BVI case) examines the effect of a clause in an agreement providing that in the event of any unresolved dispute “any party may submit the dispute to binding arbitration” (emphasis added).

The Board concluded that in this case, the provision conferred an option on either party to require resolution of the dispute in arbitration.  Further, once such a request had been made, the requesting party could also obtain a stay of judicial proceedings under section 6(2) of the Arbitration Ordinance 1976 (Cap 6).  It was not necessary that the requesting party in fact began an arbitration. Continue reading