ECJ judgment spells cross-border frenzy

A preliminary decision in a case before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) could create a mini boom for European cross-border litigation if it is upheld by the court.

The Advocate General (AG) made his recommendation in Turner v Grovit last week. “The implication is that anti-suit injunctions to rest-rain a litigant from proceeding in another EU state will no longer be possible. This is a major change. These injunctions date back to the 15th century,” said 20 Essex Street barrister Malcolm Jarvis.

Commercial Court litigants frequently use the injunctions, which are available for various proceedings when the UK is named as the exclusive jurisdiction.

The ECJ need not follow the AG’s opinion, but if it does the case could make law firms and chambers with cross-border EU litigation capacities more attractive to claimants.

After moving to Cheque-point’s Spanish subsidiary, in-houser Gregory Turner left and claimed unfair dismissal in the UK. Chequepoint brought proceedings in Spain. Turner retaliated with an ‘anti-suit’ injunction to have the Spanish proceedings stayed. On appeal, the House of Lords asked the ECJ to rule.