The Brussels Regulation of 2012 (“Brussels II”) and the England and Wales Court of Appeal’s West Tankers, Inc. v. Allianz SpA ("West Tankers 2012") ruling completely disarmed the “Italian Torpedo.” The Italian Torpedo is a delay tactic used in disputes between parties from European Union member states, where the court “first seised” receives exclusive jurisdiction regardless of contrary contractual provisions. Once a state seizes a dispute, the state may then determine whether the contract and arbitration clauses are valid. If the court finds the arbitration clause invalid, it may proceed with the case, even if the contract specified that jurisdiction was to be held elsewhere. Italy deployed this tactic in the Allianz SpA and Generali Assicurazioni Generali SpA v. West Tankers, Inc (“West Tankers 2009”)5 case when Italy first seized the case, held that the arbitration agreement, which provided for arbitration in London, was invalid.
Thomas Panighetti, Has London Outmaneuvered the Italian Torpedo, 5 Y.B. Arb. & Mediation 277 (2013).