HRH Prince Hussam Bin Saud Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud v Mobile Telecommunications Company KSCP 2023 EWHC 1144 Ch - 18 May 2023
On 1 June 2022 the Respondent ('MTC') presented a bankruptcy petition ('the 2022 Petition') against the Applicant ('the Debtor') in relation to debts of US$885,800,268.67 and £3,292,847.55 arising under a series of arbitration awards made in 2015-2018 ('the Arbitration Debts').
On 14 July 2022 MTC applied for permission to serve the 2022 Petition on the Debtor out of the jurisdiction by substituted service on his solicitors in London, or alternatively outside the jurisdiction and by alternative means. That application was granted by ICCJ Prentis on 19 July 2022 ('the Service Order').
On 2 August 2022 the Debtor applied to set aside the Service Order ('the 2022 Set Aside Application'). He maintains that (1) the Court has no jurisdiction to make a bankruptcy order against him under s.265 of the Insolvency Act 1986 ('IA 1986') and (2) the Service Order was flawed because ICC Judge Prentis did not consider whether the case was a proper one for service out of the jurisdiction, as he should have done given the Debtor's residence in Saudi Arabia.
MTC has renewed its application for leave to serve the 2022 Petition out of the jurisdiction and by alternative means ('the Renewed Service Application').
The court now has before it (1) the 2022 Petition (2) the 2022 Set Aside Application and (3) the Renewed Service Application.
The 2022 Set Aside Application raises one issue, namely, whether MTC has a good arguable case that, for the purposes of s.265(2)(b)(i) IA 1986, the Debtor had at any time during the period 1 June 2019 to 1 June 2022 a place of residence in England and Wales ('the Residence Issue').
The Debtor does not, in this jurisdiction, dispute the Arbitration Debts. His lawyers have confirmed that his only defence to the 2022 Petition is the Residence Issue.
It is accepted by the Debtor that, if MTC has a good arguable case in relation to the Residence Issue, then MTC is entitled to an order granting it permission to serve the 2022 Petition out of the jurisdiction on him. In the event that such an order is made, the Debtor's solicitors have confirmed that service can be effected on their firm in London.
Accordingly, the only issue for the court to decide at this stage is whether MTC has a good arguable case on the Residence Issue.