Whilst there has been some pre- occupation with the case of Barclay-Watt and others v Alpha Panaretti and others [HQ11X02379] another equally significant case, that of Marshall v Bank of Cyprus has gone largely unnoticed. In that case, brought by Christofi Law in Cyprus on behalf of Mrs Marshall, substantially the same issues were raised on application in the Cypriot courts to determine whether they had jurisdiction to hear cases relating to Cyprus property buyers who are domiciled abroad, usually in the UK.
In the High Court case against Alpha Panaretti, the case reached the courts on 20 July 2012 and judgment was handed down on 23rd November. The judgment, made by Master Whittaker contained a number of reservations and qualifications which narrow down the class of people able to bring actions via the UK, but for the Barclay-Wyatts and their co claimants, whose action revolved around very specific facts relating to Alpha Panaretti sales, the outcome was that they had the right to bring their action in the UK provided that it was brought within a six year limitation period.
The outcome of the Marshall Case throws cold water on that. The case- described by one of the participants as “trench warfare” – involved the Cypriot District Court receiving skeleton arguments from each sides respective counsel exceeding 20 pages of references, and the judgment, eventually delivered on 31 January 2013 by Judge David consisted of 20 pages. Judge David ruled that the correct jurisdiction was…The Republic of Cyprus.
The outcome means that there is a conflict of laws between the British and the Cypriot courts. Five of the Barclay Wyatt Claimants actions were commenced in Cyprus. Moreover there are issues over the seniority of the judgments – the Judge in the Cypriot Court is likely to have greater seniority than the Senior Master in the High Court – so observers can expect legal “hand bags” when the two clash.
Mrs Marshalls case is directly against the Bank and involves the misselling of Swiss Franc Foreign Currency loans unlike the Barclay-Watt case, where no claim was brought by the lawyers against the bank.
Mrs Marshall has appealed the order and has vowed, if necessary, with the support of Christofi Law, to take the matter to the European Courts. The likelihood is that her case will reach Europe before any further substantive issues are dealt with in the Alpha Panaretti case .