In (1) Clearlake Shipping Pte Ltd and (2) Guvnor Singapore Pte Ltd v Xiang Da Marine Pte Ltd  EWHC 2284 (Comm), the English High Court continued anti-suit injunctions (previously obtained "without notice") restraining the owner of a vessel from bringing/continuing (third party) claims in the Singaporean Courts:
- against the charterer of the vessel which, like the owner, was party to a charterparty and letters of indemnity containing (differently-worded) jurisdiction clauses in favour of the English Courts; and
- against a sub-charterer which had no contractual relationship, and thus no jurisdiction agreement, with the owner.
As regards the claims against the charterer, this was because
the English jurisdiction agreements between it and the owner should
be interpreted consistently where possible - in this case as
exclusive clauses – and, as such, they should be enforced by
means of an anti-suit injunction on the "contractual
basis" in the absence of any strong reasons to the
As regards the claims against the sub-charterer, the anti-suit injunction was continued on the basis that it would be "vexatious or oppressive" from the sub-charterer's perspective for such claims to be heard in Singapore, since:
- England was the natural forum for the dispute between the owner and the charterer and sub-charterer (since, although all three entities were incorporated in Singapore, there were exclusive English jurisdiction clauses in the charterparty, the sub-charter and the bills of lading);
- by bringing a tortious misrepresentation claim solely against the sub-charterer and not against the charterer, the owner had manipulated its Singaporean claims to try to avoid being caught by the exclusive jurisdiction clause in the charterparty;
- the claims against the charterer would be heard in England and, so as to avoid forum fragmentation on the same issues, there was good reason to have all the claims between the owner and the charterer and sub-charterer in the same jurisdiction (i.e. England); and
- consequently, it was necessary in the interests of justice to grant the anti-suit injunction taking in to account considerations of comity.
In view of those decisions, the Judge declined to decide whether the charterer was itself entitled to an anti-suit injunction in respect of the Singaporean claims against the sub-charterer:
- on the "contractual basis" via an assertion that the jurisdiction clause extended to the Singaporean claims against the sub-charterer; and/or
- on the basis that those claims against the sub-charterer were "vexatious or oppressive" from the charterer's perspective.
As the Judge himself noted, the owner's procedural manoeuvre – designed to evade the jurisdiction clause – may well be of a type that had not previously triggered an English anti-suit injunction. Consequently, this Judgment may pave the way for the granting of anti-suit injunctions in other circumstances in which such tactics are employed – especially in view of the Court of Appeal's previous indication that "the categories of factors which indicate vexation or oppression are not closed".
Visit us at mayerbrown.com
Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the "Mayer Brown Practices"). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. "Mayer Brown" and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.
© Copyright 2019. The Mayer Brown Practices. All rights reserved.
This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.