Center of Main Interests, International Insolvency Case Venue, and Equality of Arms: The Eurofood Decision of the European Court of Justice

Bufford, Samuel L. | January 1, 2007

The European Court of Justice (“E.C.J.”) issued a ruling on May 2, 2006 in the Eurofood case, finding that the commencement of an insolvency case for Eurofood in Ireland gave the Irish court priority under E.U. law over a similar insolvency case commenced shortly thereafter in Italy. The E.C.J.’s ruling responded to the Supreme Court of Ireland’s referral to the E.C.J. of five questions of E.U. law based on the E.U. Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings (“E.U. Regulation”). The Irish Supreme Court had referred these questions to the E.C.J. preliminary to deciding a pending appeal of the Dublin High Court’s decision to open a main insolvency proceeding for Eurofood IFSC, Ltd. (“Eurofood”) (a subsidiary of Parmalat SpA, one of the largest corporate groups in Italy, which went into insolvency proceedings in Italy on December 24, 2003) in competition with a parallel main insolvency case for the same entity in Parma, Italy. The two parallel main proceedings arose because courts in each country, based on different criteria, had decided that Eurofood’s center of main interests (“CoMI”)6 was located in its own country.