Mind the gap. Competing jurisdiction and arbitration clauses in different agreements between parties

Different jurisdiction clauses in agreements between the same parties High Court of Justice, Commercial Court

Categories: Contract Law
Typology: Case Law

In a recent case, AmTrust Europe Ltd v Trust Risk Group SpA [2014] EWHC 4169 (Comm) (10 December 2014), the Commercial Court considered whether the English court had jurisdiction to grant an injunction in circumstances where the parties had entered into a number of agreements with conflicting jurisdiction and arbitration clauses.

The Commercial Court has held that, in the instant case, the English court had jurisdiction to grant a mandatory injunction, and rejected the defendant's challenge to jurisdiction. This latter was based on the allegation that, according to the agreements, disputes between the parties should be settled by arbitration in Milan and in accordance with Italian law.

The Court took a different view. After carefully construing the terms of the two agreements, the judge found that the claimant had shown "a good arguable case" that jurisdiction fell with the English court according to one of the agreements.

This case is a good example of the difficulties that can arise where there are separate but related agreements between the same parties that include different dispute resolution clauses.

(Altalex, 16 February 2015. Article and photo by Francesco Camilotti)

England and Wales High Court

Judgment 10 December 2014

Full transcript of the case

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