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The Commercial Court has given judgment on an important issue regarding the nature of obligations under exclusive jurisdiction clauses and the limitation period applicable in respect of claims for breach of such obligations. It is thought to be the first reported judgment giving detailed consideration to this issue.

The Court held that exclusive jurisdiction clauses, like arbitration clauses, give rise to obligations that are continuing in nature so that they can be breached both: (i) by the taking of steps in the non-agreed forum; and (ii) the existence of proceedings in the non-agreed forum. The Court so held in dismissing an application for summary judgment on a limitation defence raised in response to the Claimant’s claim for relief in respect of the Defendants’ breaches of English exclusive jurisdiction clauses by pursuing foreign proceedings commenced more than 6 years before. The Court held that there was no limitation defence to such a claim in circumstances where the foreign proceedings remained on foot and steps to progress them had been taken during the limitation period.

A copy of the judgment appears here.

Andrew Scott (instructed by Farrer & Co) appeared on behalf of the Claimant