Knowledge Counsel London
"It has been held that respect for comity is not a strong reason for the court not to give effect to a contractual choice of forum clause."
Insurance – Jurisdiction
The motor yacht ANGARA was alleged to have damaged an undersea power cable, which caused pollution. Subrogated insurers of the cable owners brought an action in Spain against the vessel’s P&I insurers pursuant to Spanish direct action legislation. The Commercial Court held that direct action was enforcement of the insurer’s contract obligation to indemnify. As the claim in the Spanish court was contractual in nature, it was conditioned by the London arbitration agreement in the P&I policy. The Spanish proceedings were therefore in breach of that arbitration agreement. The subrogated insurers failed to put forward strong reasons for refusing an anti-suit injunction so one was granted in favour of the P&I insurers.
QBE Europe SA/NV and another v Generali España de Seguros y Reaseguros  EWHC 2062 (Comm), 1 August 2022
Recognition of judgments
In this latest decision in the ongoing dispute over ownership of the Republic of Venezuela’s gold reserves that are currently held by the Bank of England, the Commercial Court has refused to recognise certain judgments from the Venezuelan courts. The Maduro Board sought to take advantage of an exception to the decision of the English Supreme Court last year, which held that English courts would not recognise the validity of executive acts of Mr Guaidó where the acts had been quashed by a Venezuelan judgment which was entitled to recognition in accordance with English rules of private international law and public policy. The Commercial Court held that there was no basis for recognition of the Venezuelan judgments because private international law would not permit recognition where Mr Guaidó had not been party to the proceedings in Venezuela.
Deutsche Bank v Central Bank of Venezuela and others  EWHC 2040 (Comm), 29 July 2022
Maritime – Termination of Charterparty
Owners under a bareboat charterparty were not required to serve notice of the outstanding amount before terminating the charterparty and taking possession of the vessels after charterers became designated under the US terrorism regime. Owners had the option to serve such notice in the hope that the outstanding amount would be repaid but were not required to do so. That was the effect of the clear written terms of the charterparty, notwithstanding that it particularly benefitted owners. The Court of Appeal upheld the judge’s decision that charterers were not entitled to relief against forfeiture because of their dishonest case that the designated individual was no longer associated with them.
Courage Shipping Co v OCM Maritime Nile LLC  EWCA Civ 1091, 29 July 2022
Cryptocurrency – Service
In a claim arising out of alleged fraudulent misappropriation of cryptocurrency, the High Court has allowed service of various orders against the defendant website operators via the non-fungible token blockchain and by email. This is the first time that service by alternative means has been permitted by non-fungible token. By dropping the orders into the digital wallets into which the claimant had transferred assets, the documents would be embedded into the blockchain and should put those behind the website on notice of the proceedings.
D’Aloia v Persons Unknown and others  EWHC 1723 (Ch), 24 June 2022
Should you wish to discuss any of these cases in further detail, please speak with a member of our London dispute resolution team below, or your regular contact at Watson Farley & Williams:
|Robert Fidoe||Rebecca Williams|
|Ryland Ash||Charles Buss|
|Dev Desai||Sarah Ellington|
|Andrew Hutcheon||Alexis Martinez|
|Theresa Mohammed||Tim Murray|
|Mike Phillips||Andrew Ward|