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Supreme Court of Denmark

Reference to the EU Court of Justice 
20-06-2016 

Case no. 5/2015
 

Order made on 20 June 2016


The Port of Assens
vs.
Navigators Management (UK) Limited


The Supreme Court decided to refer a question for a preliminary ruling to the EU Court of Justice concerning whether a jurisdiction agreement according to Article 13(5), cf. Article 14(2)(a), of the Brussels I Regulation is binding on an injured party which according to national law is permitted to bring an action directly against the insurer.

The case concerns a claim for compensation for the damage to the Port of Assens caused when a tug boat collided with the port in the autumn of 2007. The parties disagree how the damage occurred and who is responsible for it. The Port of Assens brought an action before the Maritime and Commercial Court directly against Navigators Management as the liability insurer for the company causing the loss, as the latter had gone into liquidation. Among the issues raised in the case was the question of jurisdiction, and this was excluded for a separate hearing. The Maritime and Commercial Court dismissed the case by judgment of 22 December 2014 on the grounds that Denmark did not have jurisdiction. 

The main issue before the Supreme Court is whether the Port of Assens, which according to the Danish provision in Section 95(2) of the Insurance Contracts Act is permitted to bring an action directly against the insurer of the party causing the loss, is bound by the jurisdiction agreement in the insurance contract between the party causing the loss and its insurer, cf. Article 13(5), cf. Article 14(2)(a), of the Brussels I Regulation. If the injured party is bound by the jurisdiction agreement, the Maritime and Commercial Court rightly dismissed the case. However, if the injured party is not bound by the agreement, the case may be brought before the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred, cf. Article 10, cf. Article 11(2), of the Brussels I Regulation.

The case was heard in written proceedings before the Supreme Court, and on 20 June 2016, the Supreme Court decided to refer a question for a preliminary ruling to the EU Court of Justice concerning whether an injured party, which according to national law is permitted to bring an action directly against the insurer of the party causing the loss, is bound by a jurisdiction agreement validly entered into by the insurer and the insured in accordance with Article 13(5), cf. Article 14(2)(a), of the Brussels I Regulation.

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