Team Y&R Holdings v Ghossoub  EWHC 2401 (Comm) is an interesting treatment of parallel proceedings. The exclusive jurisdiction clause was read to fulfil its purpose: the substance not the form of allegedly wrongful Hong Kong proceedings was important and third parties were not bound. However, despite Mr Ghossoub being in breach of the jurisdiction clause, no anti-suit injunction was granted against him. The decision should give parties pause for thought when drafting jurisdiction clauses and starting or resisting parallel proceedings. Chaos or at least inconvenience might be unavoidable without a clearly drafted jurisdiction clause. It also offers guidance on how to write a jurisdiction clause which bites on non-contracting parties.
The origin of the dispute
The case arose from a sale and purchase agreement (“SPA”) for the shares of Team Y&R Holdings (“TYRH”) and a service agreement (“SA”) between Mr Ghossoub and TYRH. The SPA contained an exclusive jurisdiction clause as follows (the SA clause was less detailed).
“The English courts have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute arising out of or in connection with this agreement and the parties submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.” Continue reading
Readers may be interested in a recent article on anti-suit injunctions written by 20 Essex Street’s Thomas Raphael QC. The article, published in the LMCLQ, comments on the Court of Appeal’s controversial decision in Petter v EMC  EWCA Civ 828,  lLPr 6.
As the article exposes, the English court’s case law on anti-suit injunctions has become inconsistent and is in danger of failing to respect comity. The article stands back and takes a high level view of the fundamental principles which are necessary to give international legitimacy to the remedy.
The article makes for interesting reading and is highly recommended. It has already been cited before the courts on three occasions.
The reference for the full text of the article, based on and developed from Tom’s lecture to Combar in December 2015, is  LMCLQ 256. Tom is also the author of the standard work on anti-suit injunctions: “The Anti-Suit Injunction” published by OUP.
The Commercial Court’s decision in this case (Axa v Weir  EWHC 904 (Comm)) late last week provides a useful restatement of the jurisdictional position concerning insurance written on the London market.
The case, confirms the English Court’s willingness to find that England is the natural forum in such cases even where (as here) there has been no express choice of jurisdiction. It also shows a willingness to allow parties to continue related foreign proceedings and, if appropriate, to stay the English proceedings (see also, e.g. my post on Blue Tropic and Josephine Davies’ post on Jong v HSBC).
On Wednesday 20 April 2016 the Court of Appeal (Moore-Bick, Longmore and Macfarlane LJJ) handed down judgment in Shipowners’ Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association (Luxembourg) v Containerships Denizcilik Nakliyat Ve Ticaret AS (The “Yusuf Cepnioglu”)  EWCA Civ 386.
Led by David Lewis QC also at 20 Essex Street, I appeared for the appellant charterers (the “Charterers”) against whom an anti-suit injunction had been ordered, first by Cooke J (ex parte) and then maintained by Teare J at the return date ( EWHC 258 (Comm),  1 All ER (Comm) 966).
The decision gives a clear signal that the English courts will fiercely protect against the infringement of a party’s English law rights – even to the detriment of comity (which the court held was not a relevant consideration). Thus, recognising its two previous decisions in The Hari Bhum  1 All ER Comm (715) and The Jay Bola  2 Lloyd’s Rep 279 were irreconcilable, the Court preferred the latter. Continue reading
Three members of 20 Essex Street were involved on both sides of a recent application for an anti-suit injunction in Magellan Spirit ApS v Vitol SA  EWHC 454 (Comm). The central issue in the case was whether there was an agreement conferring jurisdiction on the English High Court for the purposes of, among other things, the Lugano Convention.
In refusing the anti-suit injunction, Leggatt J held that even if a written consensus could satisfy Article 23 of the Lugano Convention, it was not enough for an anti-suit injunction. This is also a case in which delay in applying for an anti-suit injunction was a problem for the applicants (see too our post on Ecobank Transnational v Tanoh). Continue reading
Last night, Sir Richard Aikens delivered the COMBAR lecture. Among the topics he covered was Regulation 1215/2012 (Brussels I recast).
In the discussion which followed, it was clear that COMBAR members were divided in opinion as to whether Regulation 1215/2012 could be interpreted (and would be interpreted) to permit the English courts to issue anti-suit injunctions in support of arbitration. It was suggested that this could be supported on the basis of the Advocate General’s Opinion on Gazprom (see our post on this decision) although many thought the CJEU would not be persuaded to follow this path even bearing in mind the changed recitals in the recast regulation.
More than one participant in the discussion had been involved in a case where the possibility of an injunction post Regulation 1215/2012 had arisen. In those cases, however, the arbitration tribunals had adopted procedures so as to resolve the jurisdiction issue promptly and before any substantial steps had been taken in the foreign litigation.
The issue remains one to watch although any party seeking an anti-suit injunction relying on the AG in Gazprom will almost certainly need to be ready for a trip to the CJEU.
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
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