March 13, 2017

Committal Order - Deutsche Bank v Sebastian Holdings (High Court)

Judge rules permission to serve out not required where judgment debtor served with order under CPR r71

The defendant, a judgment debtor, breached an order made pursuant to CPR r71 to provide information. The claimant applied for a committal order and Teare J held that an order for committal pursuant to CPR r71.8 can be sought notwithstanding that the respondent has left the jurisdiction but that here the applicant could not bring itself within one of the jurisdictional gateways of PD 6B.

The claimant then argued that permission to serve out was not required. Teare J has now accepted that argument, on the basis that the English court already had substantive jurisdiction over the respondent because he had been personally served with the CPR r71 order. The order for committal was held to be incidental to the CPR r71 order: "As a matter of principle where jurisdiction in respect of a claim or an order is established over a person the jurisdiction which is established must include, in my judgment, jurisdiction in respect of matters which are incidental to that claim or order".

An application to commit for contempt must be served personally (in this case, in Monaco). The respondent refused to agree a time and place when he could be personally served. The judge accepted that he was not obliged to do but held that "That is some evidence that he is unwilling to be served personally and that he may well take steps to avoid service. When that evidence is considered against the background of his conduct in this litigation … I consider it very likely (notwithstanding that [the respondent] has paid the costs awarded against him and attended court pursuant to the Part 71 order) that he will take steps to avoid personal service in Monaco". Accordingly, there were special circumstances justifying an order for service by alternative means (namely, by service on his solicitors).