Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly


Adrian Briggs*

The M/T Prestige
In 2022 LMCLQ noted the decision of the European Court of Justice1 to the effect that a P&I Club, which had been absolved of liability to a claimant by an award duly given effect as a judgment of the English court,2 was nevertheless required to comply with a Spanish judgment, which contradicted the London award and English judgment on every material point and which ordered it to hand over $1 billion to the Spanish state. The patent incompatibility of the ECJ’s judgment with the express terms of the Brussels I Regulation, Art.1(2)(d) of which states that the Regulation does not apply to arbitration, and the discreditable circumstances in which it came to pass, prompted the assessment that the judgment ought to be dead in the water so far as English law was concerned.3 If it was not immediately clear how that desirable outcome might be arrived at, it is now. When the parties returned to the Commercial Court to pick up the pieces,4 Butcher J had two substantial matters to deal with. These were (1) the resumed proceedings on the application of Spain to register the Spanish judgment in its favour for enforcement in England; and (2) the enforceability of awards, arising from separate arbitral proceedings in London, which had been made after the ECJ had delivered the judgment referred to. We can take these two matters in turn.

1. Registration of the Spanish judgment

On this issue, the framework for the decision was Chapter III of the Brussels I Regulation,5 which continued to apply to proceedings instituted prior to 1 January 2021.6 The application


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