ENGLISH COURT REFUSES DEFENDANT’S PLEA TO EXERCISE DISCRETION AND GRANTS ANTI-SUIT INJUNCTION

In VTB Bank PJSC v Valeri Dzhanibekovich Mejlumyan [2021] EWHC 1386 (Comm), the English High Court made final an interim anti-suit injunction granted earlier this year (see our post here).   There was no dispute between the parties on the existence of a valid and binding arbitration agreement and the Court did not accept that the claimant’s alleged delay in seeking the anti-suit injunction, participation in local proceedings or conduct were otherwise sufficient to exercise the court’s discretion to refuse the anti-suit injunction.

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ENGLISH HIGH COURT CONSIDERS RARE APPLICATION UNDER S32 ARBITRATION ACT 1996 TO DETERMINE PRELIMINARY POINT OF JURISDICTION

In the recent decision in Armada Ship Management (S) Pte Ltd v Schiste Oil and Gas Nigeria Ltd [2021] EWHC 1094 (Comm) the English High Court (the “Court“) considered a rare application under s32 Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Act“) to determine a preliminary point of jurisdiction in circumstances where the arbitration clause was unclear on how the sole arbitrator was to be appointed. Although the Court rejected the application, the decision provides a rare glimpse of judicial treatment of applications under s32, including the circumstances where an application would be likely to succeed.

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ENGLISH COURT OF APPEAL DETERMINES CLAIMS AGAINST INDIVIDUALS FALL OUTSIDE AN ARBITRATION CLAUSE IN A SHARE PURCHASE AGREEMENT

In the recent case of Manek and others v IIFL Wealth (UK) Ltd and others [2021] EWCA Civ 625 (available here) the English Court of Appeal rejected a challenge to the jurisdiction of the English Commercial Court made on the basis that (amongst other issues) the claims fell within an arbitration clause. The Court of Appeal decided that the relevant claims in deceit against individual majority shareholders did not in fact fall within the arbitration clause and could properly be heard by the English Commercial Court.

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JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL FINDS THAT NO EXPRESS ALLEGATION, CONSIDERATION OR FINDING OF ‘SUBSTANTIAL INJUSTICE’ IS REQUIRED TO ESTABLISH A SERIOUS PROCEDURAL IRREGULARITY

In the recent decision of RAV Bahamas Ltd and another v Therapy Beach Club Incorporated the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (the “Privy Council”) considered that s90 of the Bahamas Arbitration Act 2009 (the “Bahamas Arbitration Act”) – which provides for challenges to arbitration awards on the grounds of serious irregularity – did not require an express allegation, consideration and finding of “substantial injustice” for a serious irregularity to be established.

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HIGH COURT CONSIDERS TWO S69 APPEALS ON QUESTION OF LAW WITH ONE APPEAL SUCCESSFUL

In the recent decision of Navision Shipping A/S v Precious Pearls Ltd and Conti Lines Shipping NV v Navision Shipping A/S [2021] EWHC 558 (Comm), the High Court (the “Court”) considered two appeals on points of law under s69 Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Act”) by Navision Shipping A/S (the “Navision Appeal”) and Conti Lines Shipping (the “Conti Lines Appeal”) in relation to two related arbitral awards following the detention of a vessel in Conakry, Guinea. Whilst the Court dismissed the Conti Lines Appeal, the Navision Appeal was notably successful on one of the points of law raised.

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ENGLISH COURT GRANTS INTERIM ANTI-SUIT INJUNCTION TO “HOLD THE RING”

In the recent case of VTB Bank (PJSC) v Mejlumyan [2021] EWHC 718 (Comm), the English High Court granted an interim anti-suit injunction on a without notice basis. The anti-suit injunction application arose in relation to Armenian foreign proceedings under a share pledge agreement that contained an arbitration agreement providing for London seated arbitration. The court granted the claimant an interim anti-suit injunction against those foreign proceedings on a without notice basis to “hold the ring”. The court did so in circumstances where the defendant party was unwell with COVID-19 and the on-notice merits hearing of the anti-suit application had to be adjourned.

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ARBITRATION OF DIGITAL DISPUTES IN SMART CONTRACTS AND THE RELEASE OF THE DIGITAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION RULES FROM THE UK JURISDICTION TASKFORCE

On 22 April 2021 the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce (UKJT), a government-backed initiative chaired by Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls, and led by LawTech UK, published the Digital Dispute Resolution Rules (the Digital DR Rules). The aim of the Digital DR Rules is to enable the rapid resolution of blockchain and crypto legal disputes, offering users a procedural framework and a choice of either arbitration or expert determination.

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ENGLISH COURT ALLOWS SECTION 69 APPEAL ON A POINT OF LAW, BLOCKING PARTY’S ATTEMPT TO REVISIT PERMISSION TO APPEAL ONCE GRANTED

In the recent decision of CVLC Three Carrier Corp and another company v Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Co [2021] EWHC 551 (Comm) (available here), the English High Court allowed an appeal on a point of law under s69 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Act”).

The Court provided guidance on two significant issues: (i) whether the permission to appeal an award under s69, can be revisited after it has been granted and, (ii) how the Court should identify the relevant question of law when granting permission under s69.

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