Article 23 jurisdiction agreement upheld despite alleged invalidity of host contract under governing law

In Joint Stock Company Aeroflot-Russian Airlines v Berezovsky & ors [2013] EWCA Civ 784, the Court of Appeal ruled that the alleged invalidity of a contract governed by Swiss law had no effect on whether the Swiss jurisdiction clause contained in it conformed to the requirements of Article 23 of the 2007 Convention on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (2007 Lugano Convention).

The validity and effect of a jurisdiction clause covered by Article 23 is to be assessed solely by reference to the requirements of Article 23 of the Lugano (or, as applicable, the equivalent provision in the Brussels Regulation), not any national law, whether it be the putative applicable law of the contract or some other law.

In English proceedings, the claimant Russian Airlines alleged it had been defrauded by the first and second individual English domiciled defendants, and the third to seventh defendants, which were foreign companies allegedly controlled by the English individuals. The foreign companies contested the jurisdiction of the English courts…

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