Standard Bank PLC v Just Group LLC And Others [2014] EWHC 2687 (Comm)

Author:Ms Anna Myrvang
Profession:Clyde & Co
 
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The court granted an application made by UBR to set aside the service of a claim form out of the jurisdiction and for a declaration that the English court had no jurisdiction, even though Standard Bank was able to show that there was a serious issue to be tried.

Standard Bank's claims arose in relation to monies owed to it by the first defendant (D1) under an English law governed agreement, and by the second to sixth defendants (D2-D6) in their role as guarantors. D1-D6 did not dispute jurisdiction or liability. The ninth defendant (D9), who controlled D1-D6, also did not dispute jurisdiction or liability - in fact he admitted responsibility for defrauding the bank.

The claim against UBR was brought on the basis that it owed money to D1, which debts had been assigned to Standard Bank. UBR disputed jurisdiction.

Mr Justice Walker considered Standard Bank's claim against UBR and found that it gave rise to a serious issue to be tried on the merits. However, he still allowed UBR's application: (i) on an analysis of 'necessary and proper party' under gateway 3 of CPR 6.36 and paragraph 3.1 of PD6B; (ii) as England and Wales was not the 'proper place' to bring the claim; and (iii) further to nondisclosure by Standard Bank in its application for permission to serve out of the existence of an exclusive (Mongolian) jurisdiction clause.

CPR Rule 6.36 Gateway (3)

The judge considered whether UBR was a necessary and proper party to Standard Bank's claims against each of D1-D6; and D9.

In this context, he relied on the application of this test in AK Investments CJSC v Kyrgyz Mobil Tel Ltd [2011] UKPC7. In that judgment Lord Collins cited cases warning that caution should be exercised in bringing foreign defendants within the jurisdiction on this test. He further cited cases for the premise that a person would only be a proper party if the claims against him and the other involve one investigation, are closely bound up or have a common thread.

Having reviewed the substance of the claims against D1-D6 and UBR, Mr Justice Walker decided that the claims fell into different categories as: they concerned entirely different contractual allegations; Mongolian law applied to the contractual questions in relation to UBR whilst the contracts with D1-D6 were English law governed; factual issues arose in the claim against UBR that were irrelevant to the claims against D1-D6; and there was not a substantial common element as to quantum between the claims.

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