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“Front Comor” West Tankers Inc -v- Ras Riunione Adriatica di Sicurta

21st Feb 2007

[2007] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 391; [2005] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 257; [2007] 1 All ER (Comm) 794; [2005] 2 All ER (Comm) 240

Timothy Brenton Q.C. and David Bailey – This matter arose out of a collision between a vessel and a jetty in Italy. At the interlocutory stage the matter went to the House of Lords and then to the European Court on the issue of whether an ant-suit injunction in aid of an agreement to arbitrate was compatible with EU Regulation No. 44/2001.

Colman J. held that, notwithstanding the recent Court of Appeal decision in the Hari Bhum, it was appropriate to grant an anti-suit injunction to enforce an English arbitration clause against subrogated insurers seeking to pursue a claim in their own name before the Italian courts. The decision is also important in that it establishes that the proper law for determining whether a party (such as the insurers) are bound by the arbitration clause is the proper law of the arbitration agreement.