On 7 May 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) issued its judgment in LG and others v. Rina SPA and another (Case C-641/18) in which it recalled that the customary international law principle of immunity from jurisdiction did not preclude the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Brussels I Regulation) if the defendant, who invokes that principle, does not exercise sovereign public powers.
The case relates to the sinking, in February 2006, of a passenger’s ship (under the flag of the Republic of Panama) in the Red Sea. Following that event, the victims of the sinking brought an action for damages, before an Italian court, against the Italian companies that carried out the ship classification and certification operations on behalf of the Republic of Panama. The victims essentially alleged that the sinking of the ship had been caused by these operations.
The Italian companies, however, asserted that the Italian courts lacked jurisdiction to rule on the matter since the classification and certification operations which they conducted on behalf of Panama were a manifestation of the sovereign powers of that State.READ MORE