The European Court of Justice (ECJ) handed down a judgment on 10 February confirming the Advocate General's opinion that anti-suit injunctions should not be granted by an EU Member State court in order to restrain proceedings in another Member State on the ground that the proceedings would be in breach of an arbitration agreement.

The ECJ's decision followed a request from the House of Lords in February 2007 for clarification of this issue on which it had acknowledged there were varying views and was a matter of considerable importance. The issue had arisen in an appeal before it from a High Court judge's decision to grant an injunction restraining proceedings brought in Italy (West Tankers Inc v RAS Riunione Adriatica di Sicurta SpA [2007] UKHL 4). The ECJ concluded that it would be incompatible with the Brussels Regulation (44/2001) for the English court to grant the injunction restraining the proceedings brought in Italy, notwithstanding that those proceedings were apparently in breach of an agreement for arbitration of disputes in London (Case C-185/07, Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 10 February 2009). Click here for more details in an e-bulletin published by our international arbitration group on 10 February.