Brussels

In the Anna H (1995) the court said that the Brussels and the Arrest Conventions have to be read together. The Arrest Convention only applies, however, to in rem actions and not to in personam actions. Before the Brussels Convention came into force in the U.K., jurisdiction could be founded for a claim if a writ was served – the vessel need not actually be arrested. It was quite common for Owners’ P&I Clubs to put up security to a claim when the arrest was threatened and then to undertake to accept service of the writ through solicitors. This is what happened in The Deichland (1989) – the defendants (demise charterers) only acknowledged (not accepted) service of the writ for the purpose of contesting the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Courts. (Their P&I Club had provided the plaintiffs with security by letter of guarantee.) The defendants argued that the English court must decline jurisdiction: the ship had been released and therefore any action must now be in personam. (Acknowledgement of the writ in rem and the provision of security did not amount to submitting to the jurisdiction). The Court of Appeal agreed. As the vessel had not been arrested, the Arrest Convention did not apply. The Arrest Convention did not confer jurisdiction where bail or some other form of security was given to avoid arrest. The Court of Appeal was of the view that there would have been a different result if the vessel had been arrested.