• Anastasiia Tolmacheva

Landmark Supreme Court case on compensation for accidents abroad

SUPREME COURT

Foreign law

Service out of jurisdiction

Case FS Cairo (Nile Plaza) LLC v Brownlie [2021] UKSC 45

Facts In January 2010 Lady Brownlie and her husband, Ian Brownlie, were on holiday in Egypt, staying at the Four Seasons Hotel at Nile Plaza. They went on a guided driving tour booked through the hotel. The vehicle crashed. Lady Brownlie was seriously injured and her husband was killed. Lady Brownlie claimed damages in contract and tort. The Supreme Court found that the company side by her was not the operator of the hotel. The matter was remitted to the High Court. Lady Brownlie sought permission to substitute FS Cairo as defendant and to serve proceedings on it outside the jurisdiction. Her application succeeded. FS Cairo appealed to the Court of Appeal. The appeal was dismissed and FS Cairo appealed to the Supreme Court.

Decision 1.The appeal was dismissed.

2. Lady Brownlie’s tortious claims related to actionable harm which was sustained in England. It was submitted on her behalf that damage in the form of pain, suffering and loss of amenity resulting from personal injury is not sustained at a single point of time when the injury is initially suffered or when a legal cause of action is completed, but extends to later contouring damage.

3. The requirement that England is the appropriate forum in which to bring a claim prevents the acceptance of jurisdiction in situations where there is no substantial connection between the wrongdoing and England.

4. The claims were covered by Egyptian law. There was no scope for applying English law by default. The judge at first instance had been entitled to rely on the presumption that Egyptian law was materially similar to English law in concluding that Lady Brownlie’s claims were reasonably arguable for the purposes of establishing jurisdiction.

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