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HCCH Monthly Update: March 2021

Meeting of the Council on General Affairs and Policy

The Council on General Affairs and Policy (CGAP) of the HCCH met online from 1 to 5 March 2021, with over 350 participants. Over the course of five days, HCCH Members reviewed progress made to date and agreed on the work programme for the year ahead. More information is available here.

Several important developments relating to Membership and HCCH Conventions occurred during the meeting:

  • Thailand deposited its instrument of acceptance of the Statute, becoming the 88thMember of the HCCH.
  • El Salvador applied to become a Member of the HCCH. Following a six-month voting period and provided a majority of votes have been cast in its favour, El Salvador will be invited to become a Member by accepting the Statute of the HCCH.

HCCH Monthly Update: January 2021

Membership 

On 19 January 2021Namibia deposited its instrument of acceptance of the Statute, becoming the 87th Member of the HCCH. More information is available here. 

Conventions & Instruments  

On 1 January 2021, the HCCH 2000 Protection of Adults Convention entered into force for BelgiumThe Convention currently has 13 Contracting Parties. More information is available here. 

On 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom’s new instrument of accession to the HCCH 2005 Choice of Court Convention and new instrument of ratification to the HCCH 2007 Child Support Convention entered into forceThe United Kingdom has already been bound by the Choice of Court Convention since 2015 and by the Child Support Convention since 2014, by virtue of the European Union’s approval. To ensure continuity in their application following its withdrawal from the EU, the United Kingdom deposited these new instruments of accession and ratification on 28 September 2020. More information is available here. 

From anti-suit injunctions to ‘quasi’ anti-suit injunctions and declaratory relief for breach of a choice of court agreement: a whiter shade of pale?

Nearly a year ago I reported on a Greek judgment refusing execution of two English orders issued on the basis of a High Court judgment which granted declaratory relief to the applicants. This came as a result of proceedings initiated in Greece, in breach of the settlement agreements and the exclusive jurisdiction clauses in favor of English courts. A recent judgment rendered by the same court confirmed the incidental recognition of the same High Court judgment, which resulted in the dismissal of the claim filed before Greek courts due to lack of jurisdiction.

Piraeus Court of Appeal Nr. 89/31.01.2020

THE FACTS

The facts of the case are clearly presented in the case Starlight Shipping Co v Allianz Marine & Aviation Versicherungs AG [2014] EWHC 3068 (Comm) (26 September 2014. The UK defendants invoked before the Piraeus first instance court the judgment aforementioned, and requested incidental recognition in Greece. The Piraeus court granted recognition, and dismissed the claim. The plaintiffs appealed, seeking reversal on two grounds: Lack of res iudicata and violation of Article 34 (1) Brussels I Regulation.

THE RULING

The Piraeus CoA founded its ruling on point 39 of the English judgment:

CJEU rules on the opposability of a choice-of-court clause contained in a large-risk insurance contract in relation to the insured: Case C-803/18, BALTA

The case concerns the question whether the Lithuanian courts have jurisdiction under the Brussels I bis Regulation to deal with a case involving an insurance payment claimed by a company established in Lithuania and covered by a civil liability insurance contract concluded between the policyholder and the insurer, both of whom are established in Latvia.

The insurance contract in question contained a clause providing that any dispute relating to this contract should be brought before the Latvian courts. Following the wording of the preliminary question, the claimant is a ‘person insured under that contract who has not expressly subscribed to that clause’.

Similarly to the preliminary question referred in Case C-112/03, Société financière and industrielle du Peloux, the referring court seeks to establish whether the choice-of-court clause contained in the insurance contract may be invoked against the insured who has not expressly subscribed to that clause and who is established in a Member State other than that of the policyholder and the insurer.