New Judgment: AMT Futures Ltd v MMGR  UKSC 13
01 Wednesday Mar 2017
On appeal from:  EWCA Civ 143.
The contracts between AMTF, a UK incorporated derivatives broker which provided (inter alia) brokerage services for individual investors, and its former clients contained clauses which provided that English law would govern the rights and obligations of the contracting parties and the construction of their contract, and that the English courts would have exclusive jurisdiction in legal proceedings relating to the contract. AMTF asserts that the former clients have breached their contracts by raising legal proceedings against it in Germany and asserting rights under the German law of delict.
AMTF alleges that law firm MMGR induced the former clients to issue proceedings in Germany in breach of the exclusive jurisdiction and applicable law clauses in their contracts. AMTF commenced proceedings against MMGR, based on the tort of inducing breach of contract seeking both damages and injunctive relief. AMTF argued that art 5.3 of the Judgments Regulation provides that jurisdiction will be established “in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict, in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur . . .”.
Unanimously dismissing the appeal, the Court holds that the English courts have no jurisdiction to hear the proceedings against MMGR. The aim of the Judgments Regulation is to prevent parallel proceedings between courts of different Member States. Derogations, including art 5.3, from the general rule under art 2 which confers jurisdiction on the courts of the defendant’s domicile must be restrictively interpreted to achieve this aim. The direct harm which AMTF suffered from the alleged tort was the expenditure occasioned by proceedings in Germany. Thus the place where the harmful event occurred was Germany.