Whether exclusive jurisdiction clause was incorporated by terms on a website/whether anti-suit injunction should be granted
A Chinese company and a Singaporean company entered into a warehousing agreement. Following a dispute, the Singaporean company commenced proceedings in China seeking delivery of certain goods of which it claimed to be owner. The Chinese company sought an anti-suit injunction from the English courts, on the basis that the parties had agreed that the English courts would have exclusive jurisdiction to hear any disputes between them. Various issues were considered by Teare J, including whether the exclusive jurisdiction clause had been incorporated.
The warehouse certificate issued by the Chinese company had provided that disputes would be subject to the terms and conditions of the company, and the latest version of those terms and conditions was said to be available on the company’s official website. Teare J held that “in this day and age when standard terms are frequently to be found on web- sites, I consider that reference to the web-site is a sufficient incorporation of the warehousing terms to be found on the web-site”.
However, he went on to dismiss the application for an anti-suit injunction on the basis that there is no reciprocal enforcement arrangement between England and China and hence any judgment of the English court would not be enforceable in China (so that if the Singaporean company was forced to litigate in England, it would be prejudiced). Relying on the earlier decision of The Eleftheria (1969), Teare J held that this was a strong reason for not giving effect to the exclusive jurisdiction clause.