In the recent case of Sabbagh v Khoury and others,  EWCA Civ 1219, the Court of Appeal (“CoA”) provided some helpful guidance in relation to when the English courts may grant injunctions to restrain parties from pursuing a foreign arbitration.
In summary, the CoA held that:
- The English courts have a general power, pursuant to s. 37 of the Senior Courts Act 1981, to grant anti-arbitration injunctions to restrain a foreign arbitration;
- The English courts should not exercise this power if the dispute in the foreign arbitration properly falls within the scope of the arbitration agreement (in line with the fundamental principle of respecting arbitration agreements);
- England does not need to be the ‘natural forum’ for anti-arbitration injunctions; and
- The English courts will only use these powers in ‘exceptional cases’ (for example, when continuing with the arbitration proceedings would be oppressive or vexatious).