Anti-Suit Injunctions: A Race Against the Clock

A four-month delay in bringing an anti-suit injunction was held to prevent its issue in Enka v Chubb Insurance [2020] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 71. PJSC was the contractor for the construction of a power plant.

Enka, an engineering business, was engaged to provide works relating to the plant. The contract contained an arbitration agreement that provided for disputes to be settled by arbitration in London.

A fire occurred in February 2016 at the power plant. Chubb Russia indemnified PJSC, paying US$400 million. Chubb Russia alleged that the fire had been caused by Enka’s negligence. In May 2019, Chubb Russia filed a claim with the Moscow Arbitrazh Court. Enka decided to engage and defend the claim against it.

In September 2019, Enka sought permission in England to obtain an anti-suit injunction to restrain Russian proceedings. Baker J refused the application. First, while the express choice of seat in London may convey or imply a choice of English law to govern the contract, it would be wrong to reach a firm conclusion by considering the arbitration clause in isolation. Further, given that Enka was delayed in bringing the anti-suit injunction application and had participated in the Russian proceedings, these were found to be strong reasons not to grant an anti-suit injunction.