International & Commercial Litigation
Don’t step in the jurisdiction accidentally – to avoid a judgment becoming enforceable
A decision of the High Court last week (Desarrollo Immobililiario Y Negocios Industriales De Alta v Kdader Holdings Company Limited  EWHC 1460 (QB)) is a timely reminder of the danger of a defendant submitting itself to the jurisdiction of a US court, which makes a judgment of the US court enforceable in England, when it might otherwise have been unenforceable.
The case also dealt with whether ajurisdiction clause constituted an agreement to submit to the jurisdiction of the Arizona court. The English court found thatit did.
In relation to the submission to the jurisdiction of the Arizona court, the English court found that, even though the actions taken by the defendant in defence of the action did not constitute a submission the jurisdiction of the Arizona court according to Arizona law, they did under English law.
The defendant had not only fought the case on the merits, whilst preserving its objection to jurisdiction for appeal, it also made a counterclaim and across claim against another party. The English court found that those actions were an express submission to the jurisdiction of the Arizona court.
Whilst this case does not make new law,it is a timely reminder that parties should consider jurisdiction and the possible enforcement of judgments from other countries at various times, including
1. When a contract is being negotiated;
2. Before instituting proceedings;
3. Before taking steps to defend proceedings;
4. Before making a counterclaim or claiming against any other party.
In relation to enforcement generally, see Enforcement of US Judgments, and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments - no exception for insolvency.