Remember Ryanair v. Bravofly
- the case brought by Ryanair
in the High Court seeking to prevent Bravofly
from screen scraping
its website to provide users with price comparison information?
In a recent judgment
, the High Court has now accepted that it has no jurisdiction over a large portion of that litigation.
The issues here are somewhat complex but to summarise: after the action against Bravofly was commenced Ryanair added a second defendant - Travelfusion
- to the proceedings, on the basis that they were the "provider of the technical facilities and services necessary to permit the screen-scraping facilities".
Travelfusion, in turn, applied to have the proceedings against it dismissed on the basis that the Irish courts had no jurisdiction to hear the matter under the Brussels Regulation
Ryanair conceded that if the clause applied it would determine jurisdiction over all the screen scraping claims - the question was, however, whether the clause took effect as part of an agreement between the parties.
the circumstances giving rise to the issue in this case are highly unusual. The party who has produced the standard form containing a choice of jurisdiction clause is the one saying it does not apply. Equally the party denying that there is any contract at all is the one who is placing reliance on a clause which arises out of a contract alleged by its opponent but denied by it.
Could Travelfusion rely on the choice of law clause while simultaneously denying the existence of a contract? The court's conclusion was that it could. Three factors were important in this outcome. First, it would do no injustice to Ryanair to apply a choice of law clause which it itself had put forward. Secondly, if Ryanair were successful in its claim the choice of law clause would necessarily be contained in any contract. Thirdly, the alternative would be wastefully to litigate the same issue (whether a contract existed) twice - once at the jurisdiction stage and once again at the substantive hearing.
Consequently, the court accepted that the choice of law clause applied and as such Ryanair's action against Travelfusion was struck out. The case against Bravofly, however, remains.
that might arise out of the use of the website.