Out of jurisdiction – out of mind?

26 Jun 2014

The world is becoming an increasingly smaller place. With various international travel modes providing cheaper and cheaper fares and with the globalisation of business - the simple fact is that more people are travelling abroad than ever before.

As with everything else, cross border or foreign jurisdiction disputes are also becoming more commonplace. Many people think that a claim or an accident abroad must be dealt with by the Court in that country. Sometimes this is the case – but on many occasions it is not.

If an EU driver of a vehicle is injured in another EU country in a road traffic accident, under Rome II, they may be able to pursue a claim in their country of domicile. Consequentially the other driver or insurance company may find itself having to defend proceedings in that country, however under the MIB Regulations they will be required to appoint a claims handler based in that country.

Other similar instances can arise when a person is on a holiday. If the holiday falls within the Package Holiday Regulations and the holiday maker has an accident as a result of an element provided under that package they may be able to pursue a claim in the UK if the holiday was purchased there.

One of the key issues to remember under such provisions, however, is that regardless of where the claim may be pursued it will often still be the law of the country where the incident took place which will be applicable, including provisions relating to time limits. This often requires the additional involvement of specialist lawyers from that country as well.

There is a similar trend in other modes of travel. For example incidents occurring on an aircraft may well fall under the Montreal Convention, even if the plane has not yet left the tarmac, potentially allowing a person to pursue a claim in their country of domicile. However again different time limits usually apply and in the UK such actions tend to have to be pursued within 2 years.

The end result is that due to much of this legislation it is becoming increasingly common for any party to litigation to see claims pursued in a jurisdiction other than the one where the incident occurred.