West Law Report

Court’s power to protect integrity of judgments

Posted in Times Law Report by mrkooenglish on June 29, 2008

From The TimesJune 25, 2008

Court’s power to protect integrity of judgments
Masri v Consolidated Contractors International Co SAL and Another (No 3) in the Court of Appeal
Court of Appeal

Published June 25, 2008

Masri v Consolidated Contractors International Co SAL and Another (No 3)

Before Sir Anthony Clarke, Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Longmore and Lord Justice Lawrence Collins

Judgment June 6, 2008

The English court had an ancillary power to grant an injunction restraining a foreign defendant, who had submitted to the court’s jurisdiction and against whom judgment had been awarded, from continuing proceedings abroad which attempted to relitigate issues determined in the English court.

The Court of Appeal so held in a reserved judgment, when dismissing an appeal by the defendants, Consolidated Contractors International Co SAL and Consolidated Contractors (Oil and Gas) Co SAL, from the order of Judge Mackie, QC, sitting as a Queen’s Bench Commercial Court judge ([2007] EWHC 1510 (Comm)) who granted an application by the claimant, Munib Masri, for an order preventing the defendants from commencing or continuing proceedings in any courts other than the English or European Union courts, which related to an agreement the subject of High Court judgments between the parties.

Mr Alexander Layton, QC and Mr Thomas Raphael for the defendants; Mr Simon Salzedo and Mr Colin West for the claimant.

LORD JUSTICE LAWRENCE COLLINS said that the English court had power over persons properly subject to its in personam jurisdiction to make ancillary orders in protection of its jurisdiction and its processes, including the integrity of its judgments. The power was a discretionary one to be exercised in accordance with the requirements of international comity.

The present case was not one where the foreign court had given a judgment with which an English injunction would be inconsistent. It was simply a case in which the defendants sought to relitigate abroad the merits of a case which, after a long trial, they had lost in England. It was a classic case of vexation and oppression, and of conduct which was designed to interfere with the process of the English court in litigation to which they had submitted.

The type of antisuit injunction granted in these proceedings was not one which was founded in English law on a cause of action separate from the claim in the main proceedings which gave rise to the judgment debt.

Where a party was properly before a court, an antisuit injunction was not a separate claim requiring its own basis of jurisdiction. In alternative forum cases, such as the present, it was not necessary for the applicant for an antisuit injunction to rely on a cause of action establishing a separate right not to be sued. The right to apply for an injunction was not of itself the cause of action, but was ancillary and incidental to the existing proceedings.

The defendants’ submission to the English jurisdiction in those proceedings was a sufficient basis for the imposition of the antisuit injunction. No separate basis of jurisdiction was required.

The Master of the Rolls and Lord Justice Longmore agreed. Solicitors: Olswang; Simmons & Simmons.

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