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Anirudh Mathur part of counsel team successful in establishing jurisdiction against orange juice tycoons in case for Brazilian farmers


Anirudh Mathur acts on behalf of the Claimants, over 1,500 Brazilian orange farmers, in a claim for damages brought under Brazilian law. The claim arises from alleged cartelist activity by the Defendants: two Brazilian orange juice tycoons (Mr Cutrale Snr, D1, and his son Mr Cutrale Jnr, D2) and the family company (Sucocitrico Cutrale, D3). Following the Defendants’ application to dispute the jurisdiction of the English Court, Anirudh was instructed by PGMBM and acted in a counsel team led by James Flynn QC (Brick Court Chambers) and James Ramsden QC (Astraea Group).

In a significant judgment handed down by Henshaw J on Friday 5 November 2021, the Court found that it had jurisdiction against D1 and D2, Messrs Cutrale Snr and Jnr. It also found there was no proper basis to stay the claims against them (under Article 34 Recast Brussels Convention and reflexive Article 28 Lugano Convention, respectively). It found that it did not have jurisdiction against D3, Sucocitrico Cutrale.

The Court agreed the Claimants had the better of the argument that Mr Cutrale Snr was resident in, and had a substantial connection to, England & Wales. He was therefore sued as of right here (pursuant to Articles 4 and 62(1) Recast Brussels and Paragraph 9 Schedule 1 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Order 2001).

The Court also agreed the Claimants had the better of the argument that Mr Cutrale Jnr, domiciled in Switzerland, was entitled to be sued in England as of right pursuant to Article 6(1) of the Lugano Convention. The Defendants argued it would not be ‘expedient’ to hear the claims against Mr Cutrale Jnr in the UK if the Court did not have jurisdiction against Sucocitrico Cutrale (such that it had to be sued in Brazil). As a result, Article 6(1) would not be engaged. The Judge rejected the Defendants’ arguments.

On the issue of stay, the Court provided clear and important analysis of the correct operation of Article 34 Recast Brussels and on the reflexive application of Article 28 Lugano. It found there was no basis under either to stay the Claim against the First and Second Defendants (respectively). The Judge’s analysis is likely to be of considerable help in future cases involving these issues.

The judgment citation is Viegas & Ors v Cutrale & Ors [2021] EWHC 2956 (Comm). The case now continues.

Anirudh has a broad practice with particular expertise in business and human rights cases.

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