CJEU Rules that Judgments on Awards Circumventing Brussels Regulation Cannot Form Basis for Non-recognition of Irreconcilable Judgments
This article has been co-authored by Nicholas Lawn (Partner at Van Bael & Bellis) and Helin Laufer (Associate at Van Bael & Bellis)
In a recent judgment in the case of London Steam-Ship Owners’ Mutual Insurance Association Limited v. Kingdom of Spain (Case C‑700/20, Judgment of 20 June 2022) (the Judgment), the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) issued a preliminary ruling holding that arbitration proceedings initiated in the United Kingdom and the resulting award could not block the recognition of a Spanish judgment requiring an insurer to compensate Spain for the environmental damage caused by the Prestige oil tanker (Prestige) off the coast of Spain.
The CJEU held that the proper interpretation of EU Regulation No 44/2001 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Brussels Regulation) entails that, although a judgment entered by a court of a Member State in the terms of an arbitral award may, in principle, form the basis for the refusal to recognise a subsequent irreconcilable judgment of the courts of another Member State, a judgment should not be recognised where it would result in an outcome that the court of a Member State could not have reached without infringing the provisions and fundamental objectives of the Brussels Regulation. In short, the English courts were required to recognise the Spanish court’s judgment and the insurer was liable to Spain for EUR 1 billion.READ MORE