This second post in our “new term catch up series” looks at Sabbagh v Khoury  EWCA Civ 1120, an important case about using an anchor defendant under the Brussels Regulation regime.
The use of anchor defendants in English proceedings is very common. Establishing a claim against an anchor defendant allows co-defendants to be sued in England when jurisdiction could not otherwise be established over them. In Sabbagh v Khoury, the Court of Appeal considered whether, when the Brussels Regulation (or the Lugano Convention) applied, the claim against the anchor defendant had to be meritorious or whether even a hopeless claim against the anchor defendant would be enough to found jurisdiction.
Interestingly, but unhelpfully for litigants, the Court of Appeal judges disagreed with one another. Patten and Beatson LJJ held that the claim against the anchor defendant must have a real prospect of success. Gloster LJ considered that this was unnecessary although did agree that the anchor defendant regime cannot be invoked if the sole object of the claim is to oust the jurisdiction of the courts which would otherwise have jurisdiction over the non-anchor defendants.
There is also considerable scope for the issue to be re-argued because, in fact, the court’s decision on whether the claim against the anchor defendant needed to have a real prospect of success was obiter dictum. Continue reading