Submission: Golden Endurance v RMA Watanya

Golden Endurance Shipping SA v RMA Watanya SA [2016] EWHC 2110 (Comm)

An interesting recent judgment of Phillips J in the Commercial Court has clarified the law concerning submission to the jurisdiction of a foreign court.  20 Essex Street’s Michael Collett QC was instructed for the claimant.

The court held that a Moroccan judgment would not be recognised in England because the claimant had not submitted to the jurisdiction of the Moroccan court. Although the claimant had appeared in the Moroccan proceedings, it had done so in order to ask the court to stay the Moroccan proceedings in favour of arbitration and had only engaged with the merits as it was obliged to do so under Moroccan law.

As a result, the claimant ship-owner was not estopped by a Moroccan judgment from asking an English court for a declaration of non-liability for alleged damage to a cargo. Continue reading

The new LCIA Rules do not preclude applications for anti-suit relief

Mace (Russia) Ltd v Retansel Enterprises Ltd & Anor, 28 April 2016 (unrep)

In this unreported Commercial Court decision last week, Phillips J granted the Claimant an anti-suit injunction to restrain the Defendant from proceeding with an arbitration in Russia in breach of a London arbitration clause.

The case is interesting for two points: the grant of an anti-suit injunction despite a material non-disclosure ex parte; and the decision that the new LCIA Rules do not preclude applications for anti-suite relief. Continue reading

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

The Dangers of Delay: Essar Shipping Ltd v Bank of China Ltd (The “Kishore”) [2015] EWHC 3266 (Comm)

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