Russian-state controlled company with frozen assets in Ireland granted order to set aside service of proceedings on it

By: Lawrence Morris BL

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High Court, in a case concerning a Russian-State controlled company with its assets frozen in Ireland, grants order sought by defendant setting aside service of the proceedings, on the grounds, inter alia, that: the plaintiff has failed to discharge the onus upon it to establish that it would suffer 'manifest injustice' if the court forced it to comply with the terms of its guarantee with the defendant that all their disputes should be exclusively dealt with by the English courts.

Defendant Russian-State controlled company - incorporated in Ireland - assets in Ireland frozen as a result of the sanctions imposed - GTLK is being sued for $20 million by the plaintiff - company based in Guinea - under the terms of a guarantee - guarantee relates to the delivery of bauxite - terms of guarantee that all disputes between the parties are subject to the ‘exclusive jurisdiction’ of the English courts - plaintiff issued proceedings in Ireland - plaintiff effectively argues it has to bring proceedings Ireland because if did in England, it would have to get mandatory order from English courts to apply to Irish courts - court finds this case falls under remit of Hague Convention - Choice of Court (Hague Convention) Act, 2015 - court finds this does not amount to ‘manifest injustice’ as argued by the plaintiff - consideration of meaning of 'manifest injustice' - cited Oxford English Dictionary - onus is on that party, not simply to show that it is possible that an injustice might arise - but instead that party must show that there is little or no doubt that a very obvious injustice will arise - court considers whether it is difficult to get mandatory injunction from English court and to enforce in Ireland - court notes the lack of expert evidence in relation to this claim - court disagrees and finds caselaw supports that notion that it is possible to enforce English mandatory injunction - plaintiff further argues manifest injustice in terms of delay.

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