Case note on Atlantica Holdings, Inc & Anor v Sovereign Wealth Fund & Ors [2019] EWHC 319 (QB)

Recently, the English High Court delivered its decision in Atlantica Holdings, Inc & Anor v Sovereign Wealth Fund & Ors [2019] EWHC 319 (QB) in which it refused an application to set aside an order for United Kingdom-residents to be orally examined under oath in proceedings taking place in the United States.  

The judgment, handed down by Julian Knowles J, offers useful insight into the Court’s current approach as to the Evidence (Proceedings in Other Jurisdictions) Act 1975 (the "Act") and the extent to which the Court will be willing to use its discretion under the Act to refuse a letter of request ("LOR") transmitted under the provisions of the Hague Convention of 1970.

The key message from the decision is that if an LOR is being obtained, then it is best to make sure that it is clear on its face that the referring Judge has considered and determined relevance.  However, generally, English Courts will respect the principle of comity with foreign jurisdictions and there is usually a high threshold to be met, before an English judge will set aside a valid LOR.