In Midgulf International Ltd v Groupe Chimique Tunisien [2010] EWCA Civ 66, the Court of Appeal granted an antisuit injunction restraining Tunisian proceedings brought in apparent breach of an arbitration agreement.

This judgment confirms the decision of the Commercial Court in Shashoua v Sharma (Roger Shashoua and other v Mukesh Sharma [2009] EWHC 957 (Comm)) in May last year that anti-suit injunctions in support of arbitration proceedings remain available in so far as they restrain parties from issuing proceedings outside the EU. This contrasts with the position within Europe following the ECJ decision in West Tankers Inc v RAS Riunione Adriatica di Sicuta SpA (C-185/07) declaring anti-suit injunctions to be incompatible with the Brussels Regulation. The Court of Appeal held that West Tankers does not, however, have any bearing on the compatibility of anti-suit injunctions with the New York Convention – which compatibility has long been recognised by the English courts.

While this decision can thus be considered to be broadly supportive of party autonomy to select arbitration, the Court of Appeal does not seem to have given much consideration to the principle of kompetenz-kompetenz (i.e. a tribunal’s ability to determine its own jurisdiction) and has effectively decided the question of jurisdiction itself.