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The High Court has held that a defendant submitted to the jurisdiction of the English court by applying for an extension of time for service of a defence, in circumstances where it had indicated an intention to defend the proceedings in an acknowledgement of service and had not reserved its rights to challenge jurisdiction: Aelf MSN 242, LLC (a Puerto Rico limited liability company) v De Surinaamse Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V. D.B.A. Surinam Airways [2021] EWHC 3482 (Comm).

Recent cases have tended to find that there has been no submission, even where defendants have taken part in some way in proceedings (see for example our posts here and here), but this case is a reminder that the court may decide there has been a submission if an unequivocal step has been taken which cannot be interpreted as consistent with a challenge to the jurisdiction, particularly where there has been no reservation of rights.

The decision underlines the importance of reserving the right to challenge jurisdiction and taking no steps in the proceedings whenever a challenge is being considered, whether that challenge will be on the basis that the court has no jurisdiction under conflict of laws rules (or should not exercise any jurisdiction it has) or, as in this case, on the basis that proceedings have not been served correctly.

Read more on our Litigation Notes blog.

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Maura McIntosh

Professional Support Consultant, London

Maura McIntosh

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Maura McIntosh photo

Maura McIntosh

Professional Support Consultant, London

Maura McIntosh
Maura McIntosh