The European Court of Justice has now delivered its decision in Allianz SpA v West Tankers Inc. It endorses the Advocate-General's opinion that it goes against the Brussels Regulation to grant an injunction restraining a party from commencing or continuing with proceedings in the court of a Brussels Regulation member state, where those proceedings are in breach of an arbitration agreement.
There is already an established principle precluding anti-suit injunctions where proceedings are brought in courts of member states in breach of jurisdiction clauses. This ruling extends that principle to cases where proceedings are brought in breach of arbitration clauses. English courts will still, however, be able to grant injunctive relief where the foreign proceedings in question are brought in the court of a non-member state.
Although there has been a question mark over whether the ruling will affect the decision of parties to choose London as an arbitral seat, the practical reality is that parties make that choice for a variety of different reasons. Therefore, the decision is unlikely to impact significantly on London's position as a leading centre for international arbitration.
Read Wragge & Co's previous alert Arbitration Agreements - are they as secure as you think they are? for further details of the case and the impact the judgment will have.