Court of Appeal rules on jurisdiction in Bitcoin libel dispute


Re: Wright v Granath [2021] EWCA Civ 28

In a judgment handed down on 15 January 2021, the Court of Appeal has ruled on jurisdictional issues in libel proceedings relating to the true identity of “Satoshi Nakamoto”, the pseudonym used by the inventor of digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

An earlier High Court ruling determined that the English court lacked jurisdiction to hear the proceedings, applying Article 27 of the Lugano Convention (which requires claims to be stayed where a claim based on the same cause of action is already underway in another Contracting State, in this case Norway). By a 2-1 majority (Popplewell LJ dissenting), the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s decision, finding that in view of certain differences between the claims as pleaded in England and in Norway, Article 27 did not apply and the English court could proceed to determine the claim.

Hugh Tomlinson QC and Darryl Hutcheon were involved in this case