On 16 July 2021, the High Court decided that the ‘necessary or proper party’ jurisdictional gateway (CPR PD6B, paragraph 3.1(3)) cannot be used to bring a foreign defendant into the jurisdiction where the anchor defendant could have contested jurisdiction but voluntarily accepted service of the claim form, and granted the Second Defendant’s application to set aside service out.
significant decision considers the function of anchor defendants and the scope
of the anomalous ‘necessary or proper party’ jurisdictional gateway. In
reaching its conclusion the Court followed the House of Lords decision in John
Russell & Co Ltd v Cayzer Irvine & Co Ltd  2 AC 298. The
judgment leaves open the question whether the Court of Appeal’s decision The
Benarty  1 Lloyds Rep 361 confines the principle to cases in which
the anchor defendant voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction after issue of
the claim form, but not those in which the defendant voluntarily submits prior
to the issue of the claim form – because the question did not arise on the
facts of the case.
The decision also serves as a further reminder that the risk of multiple proceedings will not serve as a trump card when considering the issue of forum conveniens. Indeed, such a risk may carry no weight when brought about solely by the voluntary submission of an anchor defendant.
The judgment is available here.