- Can negotiations justify a delay in seeking an anti-suit injunction? (Africa Finance Corp v Aiteo Eastern E&P Company)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Arbitration analysis: Sir Nigel Teare (sitting as a High Court judge in the Commercial Court) upheld claims for final anti-suit injunctive relief in support of an arbitration agreement and dismissed the defendant’s applications to challenge jurisdiction and set aside an interim anti-suit injunction granted previously by Mrs Justice Cockerill. This case provides an example of when an anti-suit injunction might be awarded despite a failure to seek relief promptly. An anti-suit injunction was awarded, 13-months after foreign court proceedings were commenced, on the basis that negotiations conducted during the delay period constituted a reasonable explanation for that delay. The purpose of negotiations was to resolve the matter in dispute including by bringing an end to ongoing foreign court proceedings. The delay also did not result in wasted time or costs spent on the foreign court proceedings as those proceedings had been effectively frozen due to adjournments and coronavirus (COVID-19). It was, however, recognised that, through their delay, the claimants had risked the foreign proceedings progressing further such that relief would be denied. The court further emphasised that delay can, in itself, be a sufficient reason to deny an anti-suit injunction. Written by Sarah Morreau, senior associate at Allen & Overy LLP.
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