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Case law: jurisdiction in cases with an international element

13 Dec 2011

The Supreme Court of Lithuania (SC) ruled that the right of a person who has suffered a traffic accident in another EU country to claim compensation for damages in Lithuania is not applied to the insurer.

On 5th December, 2011, SC examined the case No. 3K-3-474/2011, where the dispute arose between the two insurers (Lithuanian insurer and AB “Lietuvos draudimas”, Lithuanian representative for claims in Lithuania of Spanish insurer), relating to the insurer's right to claim the paid amounts from the person liable for the damage incurred (subrogation).

SC pointed out that the right to sue the insurer for damages in their country of residence as set out in the Fourth Directive is applied to the weaker party only, but the insurer should not be regarded as weaker party in accordance with ECJ case law. SC stated that "the right to apply to the insurer’s representative for claims in their state of residence is applicable to the relationship between the aggrieved person and its representative, but not to the relationship between two insurance companies". The Court also ruled that the AB "Lietuvos draudimas" as the representative of the Spanish insurer is not an appropriate respondent in this case, the appropriate respondent - Spanish insurance company.

SC decided that the Lithuanian courts lacked jurisdiction to deal with the claim of Lithuanian insurer brought against the insurer domiciled in the Kingdom of Spain, and thus this case is not amenable to Lithuanian court.

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