International Arbitration: You Can't Have Your Court And Eat It

Author:Mr Ben Holland and Guy Pendell
Profession:CMS Cameron McKenna LLP
 
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In Excalibur v Texas Keystone Inc & Others, the claimant had simultaneously commenced an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration in New York and substantive Commercial Court proceedings in London over very similar claims, against the same defendants. Mrs Justice Gloster ruled that the Commercial Court had jurisdiction to determine whether the arbitration agreement between the claimant and those parties was valid. The Commercial Court issued an injunction preventing the claimant from pursuing the arbitration in New York against those parties, on the basis that there was a strong arguable case that they never agreed to the arbitration agreement. Excalibur v Texas Keystone Inc & Others provides an interesting example of a claimant commencing parallel court and arbitration proceedings and casts serious doubts as to the merit of such a procedural tactic in some circumstances. It is also a rare example of the Commercial Court intervening in an arbitration that was subject to the oversight by the New York, not English, courts.

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In Excalibur v Texas Keystone Inc & Others, the claimant had simultaneously commenced an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration in New York and substantive Commercial Court proceedings in London over very similar claims, against the same defendants. Mrs Justice Gloster ruled that the Commercial Court had jurisdiction to determine whether the arbitration agreement between the claimant and those parties was valid. The Commercial Court issued an injunction preventing the claimant from pursuing the arbitration in New York against those parties, on the basis that there was a strong arguable case that they never agreed to the arbitration agreement. Excalibur v Texas Keystone Inc & Others provides an interesting example of a claimant commencing parallel court and arbitration proceedings and casts serious doubts as to the merit of such a procedural tactic in some circumstances. It is also a rare example of the Commercial Court intervening in an arbitration that was subject to the oversight by the New York, not English, courts. The oil industry is a regular target for claims. These claims are commonly made by commercial counterparties, governments, regulators and, as in the present example, industry facilitators (or agents) seeking payment of a "finders fee" (a fee payable upon introduction to a new market, or exploration opportunity, for provision of local contacts and know-how)...

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