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Just before press time, the English Court of Appeal released its first reaction to West Tankers. In Youell v. La Reunion, the court confirmed it would apply the arbitration exclusion to the Brussels Regulation narrowly.
The case concerned a coverage dispute under an insurance policy after a serious helicopter crash. The relevant policy had a French arbitration clause. But the Court of Appeal applied West Tankers in deciding that the regulation did not deprive the English courts of jurisdiction.
Using reasoning similar to that of the European Court of Justice, the Court of Appeal found that the substance of the claim in Youell related not to the arbitration clause, but to the general terms of the insurance policy, giving the court jurisdiction under the regulation provisions relating to contractual and insurance disputes.a