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“Gateways” within the Civil Procedure Rules and the future of service-out jurisdiction in England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-540
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Private International Law
Issue number3
DateAccepted/In press - 15 Jul 2019
DatePublished (current) - 16 Dec 2019


For well over 150 years, the heads of jurisdiction currently listed within paragraph 3.1 of Practice Direction B, accompanying Part 6 of Civil Procedure Rules, have played a vital role in the English courts’ assertion of jurisdiction over foreign-based defendants. These jurisdictional “gateways” identify a broad range of factual situations within which courts may decide to entertain claims against defendants outside England. However, the existing general framework for deciding service-out applications is increasingly vulnerable to attack. In particular, the greater prominence of the forum conveniens doctrine, but also problems arising from the gateways’ operation, combine to cast doubt on their continued role (and relevance) in service-out cases. Against this backdrop, the article assesses the case for abandoning the gateway precondition. It is argued that rather than jettisoning the gateways, future revision of the law in this area should aim to minimise ambiguities concerning the gateways’ scope and also ensure that they include only instances which connote meaningful connection between the dispute and England.

    Research areas

  • Private international law, jurisdiction, service-out jurisdiction, Civil Procedure Rules, jurisdictional gateways



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