In a useful reminder for parties who might not otherwise consider themselves to be subject to English jurisdiction, in the recent case of Bestolov v Povarenkin, the High Court confirmed that, where a defendant is domiciled in England, the courts of this country have jurisdiction and moreover no discretion to decline jurisdiction.
The court held that the defendant was domiciled in England, although he was a Russian national who had always been resident in Russia, had a “family home” in Moscow, was tax domiciled in Russia, ran his business from Russia, spent about 200 days of the year in Russia and had no business assets in England.
The test for domicile was whether he was resident in England and whether the nature and circumstances of this residence indicated a “substantial connection” with England. It was not necessary for England to be his only place of residence or even his principal place of residence.
The court considered that the following factors meant the defendant was resident in England and that he had a substantial connection to England:
The court held that these factors showed that the defendant and his wife had decided to set up a family home in England. The English courts had jurisdiction to hear the claim; the defendant was domiciled in England, notwithstanding his competing ties to Russia.
Victoria Prince, Associate, Fladgate LLP (firstname.lastname@example.org)