Case details

Arcadia Petroleum Limited and others (Respondents) v Bosworth and another (Appellants)

Case ID: UKSC 2016/0181

Case summary

  1. Does a claim pleaded in conspiracy in respect of conduct which could be pleaded as breach of a defendant’s contract of employment (and was actually so pleaded) fall within Article 18 of the Lugano Convention?
  2. What is the correct test to determine whether a claim against an employee, which could be pleaded in contract, tort or some other legal categorisation, falls within section 5 of the Convention?
  3. In circumstances where the Respondents are part of a group of companies to which the Appellants provided services in exchange for remuneration, is each Respondent entity to be treated as an ‘employer’ for the jurisdictional purposes of the Convention, or are the claims of other companies in the group to be treated as matters ‘relating to individual contracts of employment’?

The first second and third respondents are all companies in the Arcadia Group of companies. The appellants were at the material times the de facto CEO and CFO of the Arcadia Group. Both appellants are domiciled in Switzerland.

The respondents allege that they are the victims of a fraud committed principally by the appellants together with other parties, and they advance claims of unlawful means conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty and dishonest assistance and knowing (and/or unconscionable receipt) against them. Their original Particulars of Claim pleaded breaches of express and/or implied duties in the appellants’ employment contracts.

The appellants challenged jurisdiction on the basis that the claims all related to the employment of the appellants by the Arcadia Group and so fell within section 5 of Title II to the Lugano Convention, with the effect that, pursuant to Article 20(1), the claims could only be brought in Switzerland.

After the appellants filed their jurisdictional challenge, the respondents deleted their claims for breach of contract. Burton J in the High Court held that the court had jurisdiction over the claims made in conspiracy, and over those made for breach of fiduciary duty, save to the extent that they concerned breaches of fiduciary duty occurring whilst the appellants were employed by the respondents, pursuant to article 18 and 20(1) of the Lugano Convention.

Judgment appealed

[2016] EWCA Civ 818


  1. Peter Miles Bosworth
  2. Colin Hurley
  1. Arcadia Petroleum Limited
  2. Arcadia Energy (Suisse) SA
  3. Arcadia Energy PTE Limited
  4. Farahead Holdings Limited



Lord Neuberger, Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed

Hearing start date

10 Apr 2017

Hearing finish date

11 Apr 2017

Watch hearing
10 Apr 2017 Morning session Afternoon session
11 Apr 2017 Morning session