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Irish courts to hear claim arising from arrest by mortgagee of motor vessel in Ireland

By: Mark Tottenham BL

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High Court refuses an application by the owners of a motor vessel under arrest in Ireland to refuse jurisdiction to hear a claim by a mortgagee, or to dismiss the proceedings on grounds of forum non conveniens, on the grounds that: (a) it had open to the owner of the ship to enter a conditional appearance to the proceedings for the purposes of challenging the jurisdiction of the Court; (b) the mortgagee had not breached the obligation to make material disclosure by failing to inform the court of an 'Individual Voluntary Arrangement' proposed by a guarantor of the loan; (c) the mortgagee had a maritime claim over the vessel, in the sense of a claim arising out of the 'mortgage or hypothecation' of the vessel; and (d) while the matters at issue were more closely connected with England and Wales, the vessel was under arrest in Ireland and the proceedings needed to be heard and determined expeditiously.

Application by owners of motor vessel - challenge to jurisdiction to hear claim - whether Irish courts had jurisdiction - Recast Brussels Regulation (i.e. E.U. Regulation No. 1215/2012 on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial matters) - forum non conveniens - application for order setting aside a warrant for the arrest of the vessel - alleged non-disclosure of material facts - Brussels Convention Relating to the Arrest of Seagoing Ships, 1952 - purchase of boat in 2017 - finance of purchase - arrears of monthly instalments - plenary summons issued by creditor seeking sum of €797K - arrest of ship under 1952 convention in respect of claim arising out of 'mortgage or hypothecation of a ship' - application for arrest made ex parte - affidavits as to English law - entry of a conditional appearance - whether creditor obliged to disclose on an ex parte application that a guarantor of the debt had made a proposal for an 'Individual Voluntary Arrangement' - Article 71.1 of the Recast Regulation - whether plaintiff had a valid maritime claim under Article 1(1)(q) of the 1952 Convention - failure to use the term 'mortgage'.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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