- When arbitration and exclusive jurisdiction clauses conflict—which wins? (Melford Capital Partners (Holdings) LLP v Digby)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Effect of the arbitration clause
- Waiver of right
- Case details
Dispute Resolution analysis: It is the strong policy of English law, based on party autonomy and freedom of contract, to enforce exclusive jurisdiction clauses (EJC) and arbitration clauses in contracts. What then is a court to do when the parties, in their wisdom, include both an arbitration clause and an EJC in their contract? Although, in principle, the answer to that question must be determined by the proper construction of the particular clauses in the particular contract, the court in Melford Capital Partners (Holdings) LLP and others v Digby reached the same result as earlier first instance decisions, which was to give primary effect to the arbitration clause and rule that the EJC merely identified the Court with supervisory jurisdiction over that arbitration. The court also held that an action brought by the claimants before the English court for narrowly defined injunctive relief did not amount to a waiver of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) arbitration clause or the EJC in favour of the courts of Guernsey in the contracts concerned. Written by Chirag Karia QC, barrister at Quadrant Chambers.
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