Michael McLaren QC and Richard Power (instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright LLP) have won a significant victory in the Court of Appeal, setting aside a default judgment of over US$10m which had been entered against their client, a Saudi aviation company.
The appeal decided a novel but important point, namely that a court was not entitled to enter a default judgment simultaneously with making an order retrospectively validating service of a claim form on a defendant abroad. Instead, pursuant to CPR 6.15(4) an order retrospectively validating service must prescribe a period for acknowledging service. Failure to do so meant that a defendant was not under a valid obligation to acknowledge service and judgment in default of acknowledgement could not be entered against it. The Commercial Court (Flaux J) had refused to set aside the default judgment, but the Court of Appeal reversed that decision. The neutral citation of the Court of Appeal’s judgment is Dubai Financial Group LLC v National Private Air Transport Services  EWCA Civ 71