Relief from Sanctions granted to a Foreign State to resist enforcement of an Arbitration Award

Tue, 22 May, 2018

Joseph England (led by David Wolfson QC and Nehali Shah) appeared for the successful applicant, a foreign government, in obtaining relief from sanctions/a retrospective extension of time. This was in relation to the late filing (by 13 business days) of an acknowledgement of service and application to set aside (pursuant to s.103(2) of the Arbitration Act 1996) an order permitting enforcement of an award against the foreign state’s commercial assets within England and Wales for around £70 million. Service was governed by CPR 6.44 and the provisions of the State Immunity Act 1978 such that the foreign state had 2 months and 23 days from the date of service on the equivalent of its Foreign Ministry to respond to the claim.

In an ex tempore judgment, Mrs Justice Moulder DBE held that the principles in Denton v TH White Ltd [2014] EWCA Civ 906 applied in this context, and that the breach was not significant or serious. She held that, although the applicant had no good reason for the delay, the lateness arose from a bona fide error and had no material adverse effect on the proceedings. An analysis of the decision can be found on Westlaw here.

Joseph England

Joe practises in a wide range of commercial disputes.

Joe began his legal career qualifying as a solicitor at Allen & Overy LLP before transferring to the Bar. Joe spent the first year of his practice as the Judicial Assistant to Lord Sumption and Lord Wilson at the Supreme Court. He soon returned as counsel to the Supreme Court in Bank of Cyprus UK Limited v Menelaou [2015] UKSC 66.

Since starting practice in August 2013, Joe has been engaged, on a near full-time basis, in a major ICC oil and gas arbitration in London and Geneva, and subsequent related litigations, working and appearing with legal teams in Poland, The Netherlands, Ireland, Curaçao, Nigeria, Mauritius, Scotland, the US, London and Switzerland.

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