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Caution: A forum-selection clause using the term “shall be subject to the jurisdiction” might confer exclusive jurisdiction

In an English case, a Hong Kong freight forwarder used its standard bill-of-lading form in accepting cargo for shipment from China to Venezuela. The form provided in part that “[t]his Bill of Lading and any claim or dispute arising hereunder shall be subject to English law and the jurisdiction of the English High Court of Justice in London.” The UK Court of Appeal, after reviewing case law concerning similar language, held that the bill of lading’s wording conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the English courts. Hin-Pro International Logistics Limited v Compania Sud Americana De Vapores S.A. [2015] EWCA Civ 401 ¶¶ 4, 61-78.

(Hat tip: Mark Anderson, who in his write-up makes additional observations about the case.)

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