Wednesday 29 April 2015

UK: Supreme Court decision in Olympic Airlines

The Supreme Court handed down its judgment today in Trustees of the Olympic Airlines SA Pension and Life Assurance Scheme v Olympic Airlines SA [2015] UKSC 27: see here or here (pdf). A summary of the decision is available here (pdf). Lord Sumption delivered the only reasoned judgment and dismissed the appeal (from [2013] EWCA Civ 643).

The court was required to consider what connection a foreign company should have with the United Kingdom in order to entitle an English court to wind it up where the company's centre of main interests was in another EU Member State. Lord Sumption said there needed to be a fixed place of business, with business activity consisting of dealings with third parties, and not merely acts of internal administration. In his Lordship's view, Olympic Airlines SA was not carrying on business activity at its head office on 20 July 2010 (the date when pension scheme trustees presented a winding-up petition in England) and did not therefore have an 'establishment' in the UK at that date. There was consequently no jurisdiction to make the winding-up order.

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