(1) Roger Shashoua (2) Rodemadan Holdings Ltd (3) Stancroft Trust Ltd v Mukesh Sharma [2009] EWHC 957 (Comm) involved a dispute over a shareholders agreement governed by Indian law, which contained an arbitration clause providing for an arbitration in London, under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (the ICC). The claimant commenced arbitration, however following various disputes regarding the arbitration, the defendant applied to the Indian court for a hearing regarding costs. The claimant applied to the English court for an anti-suit injunction in order to prevent this, and was successful.

In the English proceedings to subsequently decide whether the anti-suit injunction should be allowed to continue, the defendant challenged the application of English law. It argued that as the shareholders agreement specified Indian law, this should also operate as the law of the agreement to arbitrate. The defendant also argued that the claimant had made an interim application in India and that there was a statement within the arbitration agreement that the parties would bear their own costs, which is not allowed under the Arbitration Act 1996. These facts, the defendant asserted, also pointed against English law being the law of the agreement to arbitrate.

The High Court dismissed the defendant's arguments, finding that if an arbitration clause states that an arbitration is to be conducted in accordance with a supranational body of rules (such as those of the ICC), then the fact that the seat of the arbitration is designated to be London, means the parties had impliedly agreed that the curial law of that seat (ie England) would apply, and that any challenge to an interim or final award could only be made in the English courts.

This case serves an important reminder to those choosing arbitration that the law of the insurance or reinsurance policy and that of the seat of arbitration may be different.