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Court Guidance on Jurisdiction

When contracts have an international element and a dispute arises, it is often necessary to ascertain at a very early stage which country's courts have jurisdiction to deal with the dispute. In the case of a dispute over a contract, the place of performance of the contract is often crucial.

A recent dispute gave the Court of Appeal the opportunity to set out the principles that should be applied when determining the place of performance of a contract for the purpose of ascertaining jurisdiction. These are:

  1. The place of performance will, as a general rule, be the place of the main provision of the services;
  2. That place must be deduced, so far as possible, from the provisions of the contract;
  3. If the contract does not provide a place for the performance of the services, or is indefinite, the court should normally have regard to the actual place where services have mainly been carried out;
  4. If the place of performance is still unclear, the place of performance will be assumed to be the place of domicile of the service provider; and
  5. If a claimant makes a case that the place of performance is elsewhere, they must have a 'good arguable case' for that contention.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.