Note of Caution for International Litigants

Note of Caution for International Litigants- do not presume that the procedure in your Jurisdiction applies to Irish proceedings

This article focuses on a recent judgment delivered by the High Court in Ireland in the case of DRM Contract Administration v Proton Technologies. The defendant is a Swiss company that was on the receiving end of a claim for defamation. As it was a conduit for the transmission of data it regarded itself immune from any claim of defamation pursuant to the Directive on Electronic Commerce (2000/31/EC).

Under Swiss law, even if the Defendant does not respond, the Court will adjudicate the admissibility of the claim. In this regard, the Swiss Defendant company assumed that this process would apply in Ireland and did not respond or contest the proceedings.

The Plaintiff went through the appropriate proceedings in Ireland to obtain judgment and secured judgment against Defendant.

The Defendant sought to set aside the judgment. As it happens the Plaintiff Company had not served the original proceedings on the Swiss Company properly and by reason of this procedural irregularity (and this reason alone), the High Court had no option but to set aside the default judgment.

However, the Court was particularly critical of the Defendant Swiss Company and made an Order of costs against them for the costs incurred by Plaintiff up to that point.

It is clear that if the Plaintiff company had served the Defendant company correctly it is highly unlikely that the Defendant would have succeeded in setting aside the judgment.

Accordingly, if it is a case that you are a foreign company and you have received a legal claim from a plaintiff in Ireland you should take legal advice from an Irish solicitor as soon as possible in relation to the procedural rules that apply in Ireland to ensure that your position is protected.

 

Do not hesitate to contact Brendan Dillon, Donna Phelan, or Conor White on any company law/litigation matters on 01 296 0666.