On 10 November 2015, the Court of Appeal handed down its latest decision in IPCO (Nigeria) Ltd v Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( EWCA Civ 1144 and 1145). The case arises from a long running attempt by the claimant (IPCO) to enforce a Nigerian arbitration award from 2004 of some USD 152 million (current value with interest over USD 340 million) against the state owned defendant company (NNPC). The award is under challenge by NNPC in Nigeria.
The case is important in deciding that excessive delay in the determination of a challenge was sufficient to justify enforcement of the award without further adjournment under section 103(5) of the Arbitration Act 1996 (save in so far as the challenge relating to fraud was successfully made out in England under the section 103(3) public policy ground). Continue reading
This is a cautionary tale about the dangers of delay in applying for anti-suit injunctions.
The facts: The Claimant was the Charterer of the Vessel Kishore, and the Defendant Bank was the holder of a bill of lading. The time bar for any cargo claim expired on 11 January 2015. The Claimant maintained that the bill of lading incorporated English law and arbitration clauses. The Defendant Bank, however, commenced proceedings in the Qingdao Maritime Court (China) in March 2014, and ship arrest proceedings in the Tianjin Maritime Court (China) in September 2014. On 24 November 2014, the Claimant decided to challenge Chinese jurisdiction before the Qingdao court, on the grounds of the English law arbitration clause. The challenge was rejected and the Claimant appealed. However, the Claimant did not apply for an anti-suit injunction in the English courts at the same time. The application to the English courts to restrain the Defendant Bank from the Chinese proceedings was not made until 8 July 2015, whilst the parties were still awaiting the outcome of the appeal in China. No arbitration proceedings had been brought in England by this stage, and would have been time barred from January 2015. Continue reading