Matthews v MACIF. A uncommon and in depth dialogue on refusal of recognition below Brussels I and loads of grounds resulting in refusal of recognition of a French judgment issued in absentia. – Cyber Information

Thanks very a lot confrère Lucian Ilie for sharing copy of the hitherto unreported Thomas Hilton Matthews v Mutuelle Assurance des Commercants et Industriels de France [2023] EWHC 2175 (KB) – Matthews v MACIF for brief.

Maître Ilie efficiently secured a Excessive Court docket judgment (Ritchie J sitting on enchantment) overturning registration with a view to enforcement below Brussels I (previous: Regulation 44/2001) of a Paris Court docket of Enchantment 2 April 2013 judgment, as his chambers report right here.

The summons for the Court docket of Enchantment proceedings (as Justice Ritchie’s judgment units out intimately) had not reached Mr Matthews on account of his return to England and the following judgment, decreasing an earlier pay-out (which had already been transferred to Mr Matthews) by insurance coverage firm MACIF for his accidents and so forth following collision with a automotive while biking, was issued in his absence. MACIF unsuccessfully tried to serve the Court docket of Enchantment judgment on Mr Matthews at his earlier location in France, and for 9 years no contact with the Matthews’ in England was made. (From the witness statements Ritchie J accepted that the truth that a duplicate of the judgment was left with Mrs Matthews’ father in France was not talked about to the couple, not to mention acquired). MACIF in June 2022 then obtained an Annex V Brussels I certificates of the judgment (which solely talked about that the quantity to be paid out to Mr Matthews was now ‘much less beneficial’, with out mentioning numbers) and waited one other 9 months earlier than in search of ex parte (judged by Ritchie J [34] to be ‘not proper or honest’ within the circumstances) registration of the judgment in England, in language [34] not reflecting any of the background to the case and in contrast to the Annex V certificates, mentioning a precise quantity. The appliance was granted.

Upon enchantment the questions agreed [9] by events have been summarised by the decide as follows [10]

(1) Service: Was the Appellant sufficiently served with discover of (1.1) the beginning of the enchantment and (1.2) the Paris Judgment, such that he may defend the enchantment from the Tribunal Judgment and/or enchantment the Paris Judgment?

(2) The EC Regulation: Is the Order made by the Grasp one which he was entitled to make within the mild of the assertions that:

(2.1) it doesn’t match the wording of the Annex V certificates summarising the Paris Judgment, the phrases of which made the Respondent the judgment debtor, not the Appellant and didn’t order any sum to be paid by the Appellant to the Respondent;

(2.2) the Appellant has lately appealed in opposition to the Paris Judgment so is it at the moment enforceable? The Appellant asserts that the Paris Judgment is a default judgment and never enforceable on account of non-service;

(2.3) the Appellant asserts that the Respondent doesn’t have an curiosity within the Paris Judgment as a creditor and that the Appellant was not ordered to pay something;

(2.3) (sic) for public coverage causes as a result of behaviour of MACIF it shouldn’t have been registered.

On the problem of service Ritchie J refers to first occasion English judgments which nevertheless are backed up by continental scholarship and a few indications in CJEU authority: the procedural guidelines of the lex fori are a sign of legitimate service however not decisive, and considering different factors of departure listed [43], he holds that service was not legitimate, therefore triggering Article 34 Brussels I, now Article 45 Brussels Ia (not materially completely different for the case at subject): lack of service within the Member State of origin shall (not simply might) result in refusal of recognition.

Obiter, the decide additionally refuses recognition on 4 extra grounds

on type: the presentation of the overseas judgment was obiter held [49] to have amounted to re-writing;

seeing because the Paris Court docket of Enchantment judgment is now not enforceable in France pending the Mathews’ now launched enchantment, it can’t be enforceable within the UK both [50];

[51] MACIF will not be a judgment creditor below the Paris judgment: that judgment reduces the quantity which Mr Matthews is to obtain nevertheless it doesn’t straight no less than maintain title for MACIF to obtain cost from Mr Matthews;

[52] the delay in in search of enforcement inflicting substantial prejudice to Mr Matthews, the untrue transcription of the Annex V certificates, the inadequate efforts to find Mr Matthews; the registration proceedings in E&W which actually ought to have been carried out inter partes  additionally would have led to a refusal on ordre public grounds.

A uncommon and in depth Article 34 BI/45 BIa dialogue and for that alone, of a lot word.

Geert.

EU Non-public Worldwide Regulation, 4th ed. 2024, 2.600 ff.

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