25th May 2021
The Defendant appeals the order of Mr Stephen Houseman QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) dated 18 December 2020 by which he dismissed the Defendant’s application under CPR 11.6(d) and / or 11.1b for a stay of proceedings and / or for the Court to decline to exercise its jurisdiction pending the final determination of related proceedings in New Jersey, USA.
The Claimant, Ness Global Services Limited, and the Defendant, Perform Content Services Limited, are both UK registered companies. The present proceedings were commenced by the Claimant and served on the Defendant in this jurisdiction, the Defendant being domiciled in the UK. Five weeks prior to commencement of these proceedings, the Defendant had commenced proceedings against the Claimant and its parent company in New Jersey, USA. Those proceedings involve the same cause of action as the current proceedings.
The Defendant had applied for a stay of proceedings pursuant to Article 33 or Article 34 of Regulation (EU) No. 1215/2012 of 12 December 2012 or for the Court to decline to exercise its jurisdiction pending the final determination of the proceedings in the USA. Mr Stephen Houseman QC dismissed the application finding that 1) Article 33 is not applicable because the court’s substantive jurisdiction is not `based on’ Article 44; 2) there is no precedent or principled basis for applying Article 33 reflexively in light of (1) above and 3) even if Article 33 had been engaged, the judge would not have been persuaded that it is necessary for the proper administration of justice to grant a stay.