Lennox Lewis ruling rings in changes for foreign litigants

The ruling in a case brou-ght by Lennox Lewis means foreign litigants have a much greater chance of having their overseas damages awards being enforced in the UK.

Previously, the UK’s Protection of Trading Interests Act 1980 (PTIA) prevented the enforcement of a foreign judgment containing a multiple damages award. Such awards, in which the basic compensation is tripled, are frequently issued in the US.
Lewis had successfully sued his former manager and promoters for $7.3m (£4.7m) and sought to enforce this in the UK. The concern was that an element of the damages – $400,000 (£256,400) concerning breaches of the Rack-eteer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act – was subject to a possible triple award.
Lewis was owed a further $6.8m (£4.4m) from breaches of fiduciary duty. Under PTIA, Lewis would not be able to seek enforcement of either because of the possible tripling element hanging over the application.
However, the Queen’s Bench Division held that both awards could be enforced so long as the tripling damages applications did not proceed.
Michael Polonsky, a Berwin Leighton Paisner litigation partner with PTIA experience, said: “This gives claimants greater room to manoeuvre in foreign proceedings. If the judgment’s here they’ll have to abandon the multiplied element and not risk the whole judgment being unenforceable.”
Lewis was represented by Forbes Anderson, which instructed Ian Mill QC and Adrian Briggs, both of Blackstone Chambers. Panos Eliades, Lewis’s former manager, used Jeffrey Green Russell and Mark Warwick of Selborne Chambers.