Anti-suit injunctions: no arbitration? No worries

By Edward Coates

The UK Supreme Court has confirmed the jurisdiction of the senior courts to grant anti-suit injunctions to restrain parties from commencing foreign court proceedings in breach of an arbitration agreement in circumstances where no arbitration is in prospect.

Section 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (1996 AA) grants the senior courts power to issue an anti-suit injunction to restrain parties from pursuing foreign court proceedings when arbitral proceedings have been commenced or are proposed to be commenced in England in accordance with an arbitration agreement. The recent decision of the Supreme Court in Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant JSC v AESUK Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant LLP concerned the power of the court to restrain a party from commencing foreign court proceedings when none of the parties to an arbitration agreement had commenced nor proposes to commence any arbitration.

The Supreme Court, affirming the decisions at first instance and before the Court of Appeal, held that the general power under Section 37 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 (SCA) to grant injunctions was unfettered by the introduction of the 1996 AA…

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