Commercial firms possibly to breathe easier — courtesy of the ECJ

A City firm advises a commercial client from elsewhere in the EU on a big deal. Months or years later the client alleges the advice was bad and that it has suffered loss. If it comes to a claim in tort, can the firm insist on being sued in London, or must it (and its PI insurers) gear up to fight the proceedings in Tallinn, Trieste, or wherever the client is located? This depends on what is now Art.7(2) of Brussels I Recast, allowing suit in tort “in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur”, and whether an Italian or Estonian trader is deemed to suffer loss in Italy or Estonia because — well — it is based there.

The ECJ today, sensibly, said No: see Universal Music International Holding (Judgment) [2016] EUECJ C-12/15. So a multinational that got its fingers burnt in a Czech acquisition couldn’t sue in Holland merely because its profits there were diminished. As we said, a matter for relief in EC3 and EC4.

AMT

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