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Tidewater Marine International Inc v PhoenixTide Offshore Nigeria Limited [2013] EWHC 2960 (Comm)

10th Oct 2013

The Commercial Court dismissed an application by PhoenixTide to stay or dismiss proceedings brought by Tidewater in London and served on PhoenixTide in Nigeria on the grounds that the proceedings disclosed no reasonable cause of action, did not arise out of agreements containing exclusive jurisdiction clauses and on the grounds of forum conveniens.

Burton J held that, contrary to PhoenixTide’s case, the claim did disclose a reasonable cause of action and arose out of the contracts subject to exclusive jurisdiction clauses.  The judge also found that there were no overwhelming or very strong reasons why the parties should not be held to their contractual choice of jurisdiction.

The judge considered Donohue v Armco [2002] and British Aerospace Plc v Dee Howard Co [1993] and confirmed that his decision in Alliance Bank JSC v Aquanta Corporation [2012] was distinguished on the facts and was not in any event meant to add an unnecessary gloss on the well established authorities.

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