Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
28 October 2021
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The financial and humanitarian crisis in Lebanon continues to
be on the first page. Our commercial litigation team supports
Families domiciled in English with funds held in Lebanese banks for
take expedited legal action with the English courts to enable them to
access it outside of Lebanon.
While all cases depend on their own facts, there is
still time to engage with the English courts for
EU consumers with overseas bank accounts held an asset
This advantage has enabled consumers to overturn the usual rules of
where all disputes must be heard – in fact consumers
could choose to bring an action in their own home court,
despite, for example, what the terms of the contract might say. For
English consumers domiciled with bank accounts in Lebanon, being
able to deploy these EU rules and use English courts instead
that the Lebanese to recover their funds proved to be vital given
the persistent problems related to the withdrawal of the country’s currency.
EU rules in the Brussels Regulation (recast) gave an advantage
card to consumers based in the EU who have concluded contracts with
foreign organizations for goods or services (such as
services), as long as the foreign organization had directed its
commercial activities or activities marketed to potential customers in this
the domicile of the Member State of the consumer who, before Brexit,
including the UK.
One example is the claim we are currently pursuing in the
English courts, Manoukian v. Societe Generale De Banque in Lebanon
SAL and another. We acted quickly last year to start the claim
before the English courts while the consumer rules enacted in Brussels
(Recast) still applied to consumers domiciled in England. Since
we persuaded the tribunal to work on an expedited basis so that
the final hearing of our request can be heard as soon as possible.
The trial is scheduled for early 2022, which is crucial given the
deterioration of the situation in Lebanon and the persistent risk to our
Was the trump card last distributed?
A key development that may have gone unnoticed during Brexit
Titles are, however, a saving grace for
consumers who have not yet taken legal steps to file complaints
recover funds held in Lebanon. The rules of jurisdiction set out
in Brussels (Recast) can no longer be deployed by the British
courts on behalf of consumers here, but the consumer sections of
this instrument has in fact been lifted almost en bloc and added as we go
“Retained EU law” in UK law, such as s15A-E of the
Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 (CJJA).
So what about English speaking consumers with complaints?
Significantly, now in English law, the English court
can take up a consumer claim against a Lebanese bank,
such that, if the complaint is successful, an attribution to the consumer can be
made in a jurisdiction outside Lebanon and, if the deposits
are held in non-Lebanese foreign currencies, may allow
enforcement and collection.
Although many complaints of this nature were, to good effect, made before
until the end of the Brexit transition period to take advantage of the
Brussels overhaul of consumption rules, we are now seeing the first cases
in the court where the claims were made in England after Brexit
in accordance with the new articles of the CJJA. While each case is
depending on the facts, and a key question to establish
jurisdiction will be whether the bank in question has actually
“Direct” its marketing activities to potential customers
in the UK to trigger consumer rules, it is clear that
English-speaking consumers still have the advantage and can choose to
pursue their cause here rather than in Lebanese courts.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general overview
guide on the subject. You must seek the advice of a specialist
on your particular situation.
The message is clear: despite Brexit, all is not lost for
consumer claims against foreign entities. Since a rapid movement
vital because of the persistent problems in Lebanon, the capacity to
pursuing claims in “home” courts keeps a vital avenue open
the recovery of funds held there.
Confirmed LIBOR end dates
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