English High Court rejects directors’ limitation defence under Jersey law

In a judgment dated 15 May 2017,  in the case of O’Keefe & Anor (In Their Capacity As Joint Liquidators of Level One Residential (Jersey) Ltd and Special Opportunity Holdings Ltd) v Caner & Ors [2017] EWHC 1105 (Ch) (15 May 2017), HHJ Keyser QC (sitting as a Judge of the English High Court (Chancery Division)) has concluded that certain claims asserted by Liquidators against former Directors of a Jersey company for breach of their directors’ duties were brought within the 10 year limitation period applicable to such claims under Jersey law (rather than the 3 year limitation period asserted by the Defendant directors).

The judgment contains an interesting discussion of Jersey law generally, as well as the Jersey legal principles applicable to directors’ duties and limitation periods.

It is also worth reading for its analysis of the English Court’s approach to foreign legal issues, taking into account expert opinion evidence from foreign lawyers (three Jersey advocates in this case, being Justin Harvey-Hills, John Kelleher, and James Gleeson), and the judge’s own powers of reasoning and legal analysis, following MCC Proceeds Inc v Bishopsgate Investment Trust plc [1998] EWCA Civ 1680.

It remains to be seen whether the preliminary issue of limitation is revisited by the English Court of Appeal – and if so, how the English Court of Appeal approaches the Judge’s findings of fact on the Jersey legal issues in this particular case.

It will also be interesting to see to what extent the Jersey courts are influenced or persuaded, in any future case, by HHJ Keyser QC’s own conclusions as to Jersey law.





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