Brownlie: a wide approach to “damage” for jurisdiction purposes

In the Supreme Court’s decision today in Brownlie v Four Seasons (Cairo), a 4:1 majority of the Justices allowed the underlying tort claim to proceed in England & Wales and rejected the defendant’s argument that there was no jurisdiction here.

The decision turns on the rather rarefied point of the meaning of “damage … sustained within the jurisdiction”, one of the necessary elements in securing the court’s permission to serving proceedings outside England & Wales. What the decision means is that 11 years after the death of her husband in the index accident in Egypt and after two separate visits to the Supreme Court, the claimant should now finally be able to progress this significant fatal accident claim.

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Jurisdiction and territorial limits clauses in insurance policies

In a blog last year (here) we commented on the decision in Hutchinson which involved the effect of a territorial limits clause on jurisdiction in a direct action claim against a foreign insurer in the English courts. It transpires that around the time that Andrews J was hearing submissions on this point in that case, the same insurer was running the same argument in a different claim, again involving a tragic accident in a swimming pool in Spain. Although this second case, Alli-Balogun, reached the High Court on a procedural point (set aside of a default judgment) this month, in this blog we address only the issue of jurisdiction.

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Jurisdictional gateways: FS Cairo (Nile Plaza) LLC v Brownlie [2020] EWCA Civ 996

On 29 July 2020, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in FS Cairo (Nile Plaza) LLC v Brownlie [2020] EWCA Civ 996, (“Brownlie”), the latest decision in a case that arises from a road traffic accident in January 2010. Legal proceedings were commenced as far back as December 2012. The accident occurred in Egypt when the claimant, her husband, his daughter and his daughter’s two children were travelling as passengers in a chauffeur-driven vehicle that left the road. Tragically, the claimant’s husband and his daughter were killed, and the claimant and children were seriously injured.

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