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Law Notes Conflict of Laws Notes

Anti Suit Injunctions Notes

Updated Anti Suit Injunctions Notes

Conflict of Laws Notes

Conflict of Laws

Approximately 333 pages

Conflict of Laws notes fully updated for recent exams in the UK. These notes cover all the major conflicts of laws cases and so are perfect for anyone doing a law degree in the UK or, given the international nature of this subject, these notes also make a great supplement for those studying law abroad.

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ANTI-SUIT INJUNCTIONS

Introduction to anti-suit injunctions

  1. Anti-suit injunction (ASI) = restrains proceedings in a foreign jurisdiction. May be used for the following purposes:

    1. To ensure a case can be heard only in England

    2. To prevent enforcement abroad of a foreign judgment improperly obtained

    3. Or may be an anti anti-suit injunction.

  2. Order in personam: i.e. the applicant asks the court to grant an injunction against the respondent to restrain the respondent from commencing or continuing proceedings in another court. It is an equitable injunction, and equity only acts in personam.

    1. Usual situation: Generally, the respondent will be the claimant to the proceedings in the foreign court and often the defendant in English proceedings—though not necessarily.

    2. **In PQ: Identify the applicant and respondent (i.e. the person stopped from starting proceedings abroad), rather than in terms of claimant/defendant.

Parallel proceedings are not per se objectionable. Nevertheless, they can be regarded as expensive & inefficient, encouraging a race to judgment and resulting in competing judgments. Not conducive to proper administration of justice.
  1. s.37 Senior Courts Act 1981 provides for the power of the court to grant an ASI:

“(1) The High Court may by order (whether interlocutory or final) grant an injunction or appoint a receiver in all cases in which it appears to the court to be just and convenient to do so. (2) Any such order may be made either unconditionally or on such terms and conditions as the court thinks just.”
  1. Exercise with caution, though there is discretion: Castanho v Brown & Root: Power should be exercised with caution but the categories of justice are not closed.

  2. Do not be “policeman of the world”: Airbus v Patel: There is no embargo on concurrent proceedings and the English court should beware of operating as “the policeman of the world”.

  1. Enforcement of ASI: Difficult to enforce injunctive relief abroad.

    1. Contempt of court: ASIs are usually enforced by personal penalties for non-compliance: the respondent will be in contempt of court if he breaches the injunction and subject to a potential fine, award of damages, or even imprisonment: Mobile Telecommunications v HRH Prince Hussam (possible to commit contempt due to non-compliance with an ASI in respondent’s absence).

    2. Prevented from participating in English proceedings: More significantly in practice, respondent may be prevented from participating in substantive proceedings before the English court. If respondent is a defendant to English proceedings, it will be at risk of a default judgment.

    3. Not recognisable/enforceable: A judgment obtained in breach of the ASI is not recognisable or enforceable in England.

Extraterritoriality and comity:

  • ASIs may be regarded as a quasi-criminal exercise of power having an (indirect) effect on the foreign court. This has been criticised on grounds of extraterritoriality and comity: Collins LJ, Masri v Consolidated Contractors: “the mere fact that an order is in personam and is directed towards someone who is subject to the personal jurisdiction of the English court does not exclude the possibility that the making of the order would be contrary to international law or comity, and outside the subject matter jurisdiction of the English court [i.e. extraterritoriality].”

    • Extraterritoriality = ASIs may be an extraterritorial use of the English court’s powers, interfering with the determination of their own jurisdiction

    • Comity =

      • A strong view of comity would hold that ASIs may only be granted where the foreign court has exercised an exorbitant jurisdiction—this was adopted in Canada in Achem Products v Workers Compensation Board.

      • An intermediate view would hold that ASIs may only be granted where necessary to prevent interference in the granting court’s jurisdiction / to protect strong public policies: see China Trade v MV Choong Yong.

      • The English (weak) view holds that comity is a mere element in the exercise of the court’s discretion: see below (point 5a).

      • Reasons to temper a strong view of comity—i.e. not leaving it completely to the foreign court itself to stay/dismiss proceedings “improperly” brought before it: (a) If the foreign court has no forum conveniens doctrine, a challenge to the FC’s jurisdiction may not be possible. (b) If a challenge to foreign court’s jurisdiction may involve a significant delay or cost. (c) If the foreign court simply takes a different view on a jurisdiction/arbitration agreement. (d) If the foreign court takes a different view on the applicable law.

  • Note, however, that the effect on the foreign court is only indirect: there is no direct order to the foreign court; the ASI merely acts on the conscience of the Respondent.

  1. Factors

    1. Extraterritoriality or comity: In English courts, comity is generally understood in a qualified form, applied case-by-case, taking into account various factors.

      1. High point of regarding comity: Star Reefers v JFC:

  • FACTS: Star Reefers was a company that chartered ships. Had a contract with an arbitration clause for English arbitration. JFC were not a party to the charter contract but had signed letters guaranteeing the payment of the charter monies. SR relied on the guarantee to enter the contract. Went to arbitration against K (charterees), who brought in JFC. JFC sued SR in Russia instead. SR then sued JFC in England for payment under the guarantee and sought an ASI against the Russian proceedings. In English law, JFC would have to pay—but not in Russian law.

  • HELD: No injunction granted. The court noted that the power to grant an ASI had to be carefully exercised; JFC was not acting wrongfully to start proceedings in Russia, because they were not party to the arbitration clause, and so had no reason not to start proceedings there. No injustice was done.

  • COMITY TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT: One of the arguments made was that the English court should respect...

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