Italy

Although the general rule is that persons domiciled under a Contracting State of the Brussels Convention should be sued in the court of their domicile, there are exceptions e.g. Art 17 of the Brussels Convention provides that where the parties have agreed that the Court of a Contracting State is to have jurisdiction to settle disputes then that court shall have jurisdiction. A clause in a charter party or bill of lading agreeing English jurisdiction may fall under Art 17. It may be that arrest is not necessary to found jurisdiction, e.g. in a collision action. If security is provided in lieu of arrest although the ship was in the jurisdiction and could have been arrested, this will be sufficient: The Po (1991) where the Italian owners of the Po applied for a stay of the English proceedings under Art 2. The vessels had collided in the harbour of Rio de Janeiro. The plaintiff owners served a writ in rem on the defendants’ ship, the Po, in Southampton but she was not arrested because of the letter of undertaking given by the P&I Club. The Court of Appeal held that the English court had jurisdiction under the 1952 Collision Convention. Article 1 (b) of this Convention provides that one of the courts which has jurisdiction to decide a collision action is the court of a place where the defendant’s ship has been arrested ‘or where arrest could have been effected and bail or other security has been furnished’. Thus, Art 57 of the Brussels Convention applied and that Convention did not deprive the English court of jurisdiction.