Court of Appeal grants final mandatory anti-suit to enforce foreign-seat arbitration agreement

29 January, 2024

At the conclusion of the appeal hearing in UniCredit Bank AG v. RusChemAlliance LLC last Thursday, the Court of Appeal (Bean, Males & Lewis LJJ) allowed the bank’s appeal on jurisdiction and stated that it would grant final anti-suit injunctive relief in respect of the respondent’s unlawful pursuit of proceedings in the Russian Federation. The appeal was heard in public and livestreamed.

The Court of Appeal issued its order today, including a final mandatory injunction as sought by the bank in the event of success on its jurisdictional appeal. It overturned the first instance decision of Sir Nigel Teare (sitting as a High Court Judge) made at the expedited final hearing of the action last September: [2023] EWHC 2365 (Comm) (anonymised as G v. R at the time).

This appellate decision is consistent with that of the Court of Appeal in Deutsche Bank AG v. RusChemAlliance LLC [2023] EWCA Civ 1144; [2023] Bus LR 1660 (in which the claimant bank is represented by Paul Key KC) and the decision of Bryan J. in Commerzbank AG v. RusChemAlliance LLC [2023] EWHC 2510 (Comm) (in which the claimant bank is represented by Paul McGrath KC and Matthieu Gregoire).  It marks the first known occasion on which an English court has concluded on a contested basis that this jurisdiction is the proper place to bring and determine a claim for (interim or final) anti-suit relief to enforce an arbitration agreement which specifies a foreign seat.  The appeal also concerns the choice of Paris seat in the context of applying the guidance in Enka v. Chubb as to choice of law to govern an arbitration agreement contained within a main contract which is expressed to be governed by English law.

A fuller summary will be published when the judgment of the Court of Appeal is handed down at a later date.

See here for news item about the grant of interim negative relief in this case in August 2023.

Stephen Houseman KC and Stuart Cribb represent the appellant/claimant bank, instructed by Charles Claypoole, Ram Mashru and Alexander Cox of Latham & Watkins LLP.