Wright v Deccan Charges Sporting Ventures Limited and anor, High Court (QBD) 2011/EWHC/1309

Mr Wright entered into an employment with Deccan in May 2008 under which he agreed to develop the commercial interests of Deccan, a cricket team based in Hyderabad and to help create a sports city there.  The agreement provided that Mr Wright would initially be based in London where his office would be set up but he would travel to India and elsewhere as necessary.  The agreement also stated that it was governed by English law.  Relations thereafter deteriorated particularly when Mr Wright was directed to relocate at Hyderabad.  He alleged that this and a number of other incidences amounted to breaches of contract sufficient to bring the employment to an end. 

He sought to serve proceedings in India in respect of his employment claim in England and therefore out of the jurisdiction on the basis that the employment agreement was made in England and expressly provided that it was governed by English law.  Deccan challenged the High Court’s jurisdiction arguing India was the more appropriate forum.  Master Fontaine felt that in this situation the English courts were better placed to apply English law and England was the proper place in which to bring the claim.  Deccan appealed.  This appeal was rejected.  Whilst the choice of law clause is significant it was not determinable of the issue.  It was particularly noted that a high level of expertise in English law would be required particularly on the question of the exercise of the penalty clause. 

Key Point: The existence of an exclusive jurisdiction clause will not necessarily prevent a claim being tried outside of the jurisdiction.