Garcia v Total Gabon

03 May 2017

The court granted a stay of proceedings to the second defendant in Garcia v (1) BIH (UK) Ltd (2) Total Gabon SA (3) Sigma Offshore SARL [2017] EWHC 739 (Admlty).

The claimant sued the first defendant, and English company, in England.   The court granted permission to serve the second and third defendants in Gabon, under CPR r.6.36-6.37 and PD6B 3.1(3), they being “necessary and proper parties” to the English proceedings.

After permission had been granted, default judgment was entered against the first and third defendants. No insurer had been located for the first defendant and its sole director had applied for the company to be voluntarily struck off the Company Register.

The court held that although the claimant was obliged to sue the first defendant in England, and although permission to serve the other defendants had been correctly granted, the English proceedings would be stayed. The proceedings in England had effectively concluded and there was no risk of the negative effects of parallel proceedings in multiple jurisdictions. The most appropriate forum for the action against the second defendant was Gabon. These circumstances were such that this case was an exception from the usual course of bringing the foreign defendant into the jurisdiction of the English court.


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