Guidance on mandatory interlocutory relief in Anti-suit injunctions

4 June, 2021

Freedman J has today given judgment in relation to an anti-suit injunction sought in Bilal Khalifeh v. Blom Bank S.A.L. [2021] EWHC 1502.

These proceedings concern an attempt by a depositor in a Lebanese bank to obtain repayment of the credit balances of his US$ accounts with the bank.  The exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts under the Brussels Recast had been established by a previous judgment.  Despite not appealing that finding, the bank invoked a procedure provided for by the Lebanese Code of Civil Procedure which commences with a deposit of a cheque with a notary (such deposit is alleged provisionally to discharge the debt) and must then be followed by validation proceedings if the creditor has rejected the offer of the cheque.  The offer was rejected due to the inability to convert the cheque into cash.

The depositor sought an undertaking that no proceedings would be issued in Lebanon but, in response, Lebanese validation proceedings were issued.  The bank undertook not to take further steps in the Lebanese proceedings but contested the mandatory part of the proposed relief requiring discontinuance of the Lebanese proceedings.

Freedman J applied the cautionary approach apparent in the authorities on interim injunctions and adjourned the mandatory part of the anti-suit injunction to the trial on the basis that, with conflicting evidence of Lebanese law and the lack of full argument on the conflict of laws issues, he was unable to rule out the possibility of the bank losing one of its grounds of defence.

A copy of the judgment can be found here.

The Claimant was represented by Hugh Mercer QC and Zahler Bryan (Serle Court), instructed by Joe McCormick and Kerry Talbot of Rosenblatt Ltd.