International Gateley team advises on $118m court ruling

A team of lawyers from the Dubai and Birmingham offices of national law firm, Gateley Plc, has successfully advised Belgium-based, Bocimar International NV, on a dispute against Dubai-based ship-owner, Emirates Trading Agency LLC (ETA).

Bocimar International NV (‘Bocimar’) is an Antwerp-based company that specialises in dry bulk shipping, and in 2007 Bocimar concluded two charter parties, with ETA as the charterer. The initial dispute, which was in relation to unpaid hire charges by ETA, had originally gone to arbitration and, in 2013, awards in the UK were made in Bocimar’s favour.

Following non-payment of the debt, Bocimar sought to enforce the arbitral awards through two Commercial Court judgments, intending to use the Dubai International Financial Centre Court (‘DIFC’) in Dubai.

Various arguments were put forward by ETA’s lawyers in seeking to delay the proceedings, and putting forward challenges to Bocimar’s case.  In January 2016 the hearing was meant to commence in the DIFC but just days before the hearing ETA conceded a Consent Order, permitting enforcement of the Commercial Court judgements. Costs were agreed on the indemnity basis.

Having successfully won the case in Dubai, Gateley made an ex parte request for a Freezing Order to prevent ETA moving its assets, in order to protect the $118m including an interest payment which is owed to Bocimar. The team was successful in its freezing application, with the judge, Justice Sir John Chadwick, in the DIFC accepting its request to prevent ETA from dissipating its assets.

Commenting on the decision, Mark said: “The Freezing application was the latest step in our attempt to secure the debt owed to Bocimar. The team worked hard throughout the case, and then worked relentlessly to build a successful Freezing Order for Bocimar.

“With the invaluable assistance of our Birmingham office, we were able to succeed in securing the Consent Order and the Freezing Order. We were also supported by counsel from Wilberforce and Essex Court Chambers, with whom I have worked in the past, and had contributed to the success of this case.”