Ecobank Transnational v Tanoh [2015] EWCA Civ 1309

This case provides a helpful review of the law on anti-enforcement injunctions. It also emphasizes the dangers of delay in applying for injunctive relief in a jurisdictional context.

The facts: Mr Tanoh was employed by Ecobank under an Executive Employment Agreement (EEA), providing for London arbitration under UNCITRAL Rules.   After the termination of his employment, Mr Tanoh commenced proceedings against Ecobank before a Labour Tribunal in the Togolese Republic in April 2014 for unfair dismissal, and before Adidjan Commercial Court in Cote D’Ivoire in May 2014 for defamation. Ecobank challenged jurisdiction in each set of proceedings, but was unsuccessful. Ecobank also lost on the substance in both cases, and began appeals.

Ecobank did not seek an anti-suit injunction in the English courts, based on breach of the arbitration argument, to try to stop either the Togolese or the Ivorian proceedings. Continue reading

Cook v McNeil [2015] EWCA Civ 1287

Does the doctrine of forum non conveniens apply in civil and commercial cases where the competing jurisdictions are countries within the UK? Put another way: does the English court have the power to stay or strike out a claim on the ground that the natural and more appropriate forum is Scotland or Northern Ireland?

To this short but significant question no authority provided any direct answer until the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Cook v McNeil [2015] EWCA Civ 1287. Continue reading

Crescendo Maritime Co v Bank of Communications Company Ltd [2015] EWHC 3364 (Comm)

In his judgment of 25 November 2015, Teare J showed the Commercial Court’s willingness to use anti-suit injunctions to restrain foreign proceedings brought by a party to an arbitration agreement. This was tempered, however, by his refusal to maintain an anti-suit injunction to restrain proceedings brought by a non-party to the arbitration agreement but which the applicant said would undermine the effect of the arbitration award.

The case was triggered by the decision of a London arbitral tribunal deciding rights of parties to a guarantee to join the security assignee of that guarantee to proceedings.   This prompted one party to the original arbitration to bring proceedings against both other parties in China.  The existence of such security assignments is commonplace; the joinder of such assignees to arbitrations is less common. Continue reading