Modified Universalism - Rubin & Lan v Eurofinance
Rubin & Lan v Eurofinance involved a "novel, though we believe inevitable and desirable, development of the common law" (according to Lord Justice Ward). Founded on the principles of modified universalism (insolvency proceedings are collective, dealing with all assets for all stakeholders, but jurisdictional differences cannot be ignored), it builds on the relatively recent House of Lords cases of Cambridge Gas and HIH Insurance.
In essence a foreign insolvency representative can have the English courts enforce a foreign insolvency judgement (such as recovery of a transaction at an undervalue or a preference) in circumstances where they would not be able to enforce an ordinary foreign judgement.
What the Court of Appeal has said, in simple terms, is that there are some special features of insolvency law that are universal and should be recognised and assisted by the English courts, wherever the insolvency proceedings originated.
More foreign insolvency representatives can be expected to seek the assistance of English (and other Commonwealth) courts.
Date: 24th August, 2010
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