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The Court of Appeal and High Court have, in two separate cases, granted anti-suit injunctions (ASIs) restraining a Russian party from bringing proceedings in Russia in breach of an arbitration clause in an English law governed contract, despite the seat of arbitration being in Paris. In a third similar case, where the arbitration agreement was found to be governed by French law, the English High Court has refused to grant an ASI.

In general, the English courts will grant an ASI where a contracting party brings proceedings in a foreign jurisdiction in breach of an exclusive English jurisdiction clause or an arbitration agreement. Most cases in which ASIs have been granted in support of arbitration have, however, involved an English seated arbitration. The present cases are of particular interest in demonstrating that an ASI can be granted even where there is a foreign seat, though the court will need to be satisfied that England is the proper forum for granting relief.

ASIs have become all the more important in respect of transactions involving Russian parties, given the Russian law which allows the Russian courts to take exclusive jurisdiction over cases which involve sanctions. The present decisions may lead to more applications for ASIs from the English courts where Russian proceedings have been commenced, particularly where there is an English governing law.

For more information see this post on our Arbitration Notes blog.

Note: The Supreme Court heared an appeal against the decision in the Unicredit case on 17 and 18 April 2024.

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