- Elgar European Law series
Chapter 8: Concurrent proceedings
Chapter II of the Brussels I Regulation frequently gives a plaintiff a choice of Member States in which to sue. Hence, in order to reduce the risk of irreconcilable judgments being given by courts of different Member States, and also to increase co-ordination in the exercise of judicial functions within the European Union so as to promote litigational economy and avoid waste, Articles 29–32 (ex Articles 27–30) in Section 9 regulate the problem of proceedings simultaneously pending in courts of different Member States in respect of similar or related disputes. Articles 33–34, which are new provisions in the revised version, deal with proceedings simultaneously pending in courts of a Member State and an external country. As regards concurrent proceedings in courts of different Member States, Section 9 is based primarily on a simple test of chronological priority, under which the court subsequently seised is required or invited to defer to the court first seised, rather than on a judicial evaluation of the relative appropriateness or convenience of the two fora. In the case of similar actions, Article 29 (ex Article 27) imposes on the court subsequently seised a mandatory obligation to decline jurisdiction in favour of the court first seised. In the case of dissimilar but related actions, Article 30 (ex Article 28) gives the second court a discretion to stay its proceedings, or in certain circumstances to decline jurisdiction altogether, in favour of the first court.
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