Harmonization of Laws
- Elgar European Law series
Chapter 8: Concurrent Proceedings
8. Concurrent proceedings INTRODUCTION 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 Community so as to promote litigational economy and avoid waste, Section 9 (Articles 27–30) of Chapter II regulates the problem of proceedings simultaneously pending in courts of different Member States in respect of similar or related disputes. Recital 15 explains that in the interests of the harmonious administration of justice it is necessary to minimize the possibility of concurrent proceedings and to ensure that irreconcilable judgments will not be given in two Member States. Thus there must be a clear and effective mechanism for resolving cases of lis pendens and related actions. 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 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 28 gives the second court a discretion to stay its proceedings, or in certain circumstances to decline jurisdiction altogether, in favour...
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