Application for anti-suit injunction refused

This case concerned an application for an anti-suit injunction pursuant to section 37 of the Senior Courts Act 1981, seeking an injunction in relation to a bankruptcy application being brought in Russia against the backdrop of pre-existing English proceedings.

The English court had already earlier determined that it was the natural forum for the resolution of the global dispute between the parties.

The court refused the injunction holding:

  • While it was certainly the case that the bankruptcy application in Russia was a parallel proceeding (in the sense that it relied on an important issue of fact common to the English proceedings), that factor was of less significance in circumstances in which the purpose of the proceedings was the quite separate one of obtaining a bankruptcy appointment. Also that it was not seeking declaratory relief in a form which could properly be described as a mirror of the English proceedings.
  • Furthermore, the true nature of what was being sought in Russia made it analogous to a single forum case (ie where the cause of action relied on in the foreign court could not be made in England). On this point the court held that, while there was not a direct analogy between the present case and other cases which have been characterised as single forum cases, the court’s attention had not been drawn to any case in which an anti-suit injunction had been granted to restrain the initiation of a foreign insolvency process. This was on the grounds that a fact which underpinned the existence of the debt (on the basis of which the petitioner alleged standing to seek the foreign insolvency relief) was already subject to determination in English proceedings.
  • It was also relevant that the risk of an issue estoppel arising that might affect the proper determination of the issues in England had been minimised.
  • The fact that there was already other global litigation in many other jurisdictions outside England, some of which raised the same issues and was commenced by the applicants for the injunction, counted against a conclusion that the Russian proceedings were vexatious or oppressive.

Bourlakova v Bourlakov [2024] EWHC 929 (Ch), Chancery Division

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