Anti-Suit Relief to Enforce LCIA Arbitration Agreement

26 April, 2021

On Friday 23 April 2021, Mr Justice Calver sitting remotely in the Commercial Court granted final anti-suit injunctive relief, declarations, damages and indemnity costs in favour of the claimant in Louis Dreyfus Company Suisse SA v. International Bank of St.Petersburg (Joint Stock Company) (In Liquidation) [2021] EWHC 1039 (Comm).

These expedited proceedings were commenced in late February 2021 in the context of ongoing bankruptcy proceedings concerning the defendant bank pending before the Arbitrazh Court of the City of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. The same bankruptcy proceedings were the subject of separate anti-suit action in RiverRock Securities Ltd v. International Bank of St. Petersburg (Joint Stock Co) [2020] EWHC 2483 (Comm); [2020] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 591 (Foxton J – interim relief); [2020] EWHC 3324 (Comm) (Sir Michael Burton – final relief): see Arbitrability of Insolvency Claims.

In the present case, anti-suit relief was sought by the claimant in respect of a discrete monetary claim introduced by or on behalf of the defendant bank as part of the consequential relief pursued in relation to the invalidation of a discharge of obligations agreement.  Such contingent debt claim was based upon a separate agreement relating to issuance of a letter of credit and/or issuance of the relevant documentary credit itself, in each case governed by English law.  The former agreement contained an arbitration agreement providing for arbitration in London pursuant to the LCIA Rules. The contingent debt claim was found to fall within such arbitration agreement as a matter of English law.  Its introduction by way of amendment or clarification engaged distinct arbitration rights.

Mr Justice Calver accordingly granted (i) final negative and mandatory anti-suit injunctive relief, including an anti-enforcement injunction in respect of any court judgment on the contingent debt claim; (ii) substantive declaratory relief in respect of the defendant’s breach of the relevant arbitration agreement; (iii) ancillary declaratory relief as to good service and proper notification of the proceedings upon the defendant; (iv) damages for breach of contract with liberty to apply for further damages in respect of any accruing losses; and (v) costs assessed on the indemnity basis in accordance with the usual practice in such cases.

A link to the judgment can be found here

Stephen Houseman QC, instructed by James Hargrove and Mark Beeley of Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe (UK) LLP, acted for the Claimant.