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High Court to decide if unrecognised Russian judgment can found a bankruptcy petition


Charles Samek KC and James Bickford Smith have appeared in a 2-day appeal before Mr Justice Richards in the Chancery Division, where one of the issues raised on the appeal has not previously been decided by the English Court at High Court level or above.

That issue is whether a putative creditor can proceed to present and prosecute a bankruptcy petition based on a sum adjudged due under a foreign unrecognised judgement – that is to say a judgment of a court of a State not subject to the statutory registration regimes under the 1920 and 1933 Acts and which has not first been recognised at common law by an order of the English Court.

The unrecognised foreign judgment in the present case is a judgment of the Russian Arbitrazh court. Permission to appeal was granted by Mr Justice Fancourt. The issue raises the important question of law above and will require the Court to rule on the proper statutory construction of 267(2)(b) of the Insolvency Act 1986 and whether Parliament intended that the definition of a debt within that subsection should include a debt arising under a foreign judgment which has not been recognised by the English Court. Charles Samek KC and James Bickford Smith, who did not appear below, act for the appellant. Judgment has been reserved. (Valeriy Ernestovich Drelle v Servis-Terminal LLC)

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