The Court of Appeal grants rare anti-enforcement injunction

Luke Pardey

The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Bank St Petersburg OJSC v Vitaly Arkhangelsky is a rare example of an English court granting an anti-enforcement injunction to enjoin a party from enforcing a foreign judgment, albeit on an interim basis.

The starting point for the decision was in Russia, where the claimant obtained judgment in proceedings against the defendant. The defendant considered that judgment to have been obtained by fraud, so myriad litigation across multiple jurisdictions ensued, culminating in the parties agreeing to vest jurisdiction in the English courts to resolve all of their disputes.

In the subsequent English proceedings, the defendant sought an injunction to restrain the claimant from enforcing the Russian judgment. At first instance, Mr Justice Hildyard refused to grant that injunction, in part because he did not accept the defendant’s interpretation of the parties’ jurisdiction agreement, but also (and relevantly for present purposes) because he considered that the granting of such an injunction would represent an unwarranted interference with the jurisdiction of the Russian courts.

That decision was overturned and an interim worldwide anti-enforcement injunction granted by the Court of Appeal. Lord Justice Longmore, who delivered the leading speech, concluded that if the defendant was to succeed in establishing at trial that the Russian judgment had been obtained by fraud, the court would be entitled to grant a permanent injunction restraining its enforcement: as with anti-suit injunctions (which are made against a party, not a foreign court), an anti-enforcement injunction would not interfere with a foreign court’s jurisdiction per se because it would be directed against the claimant, not the court. In those circumstances, it was appropriate to grant an interim injunction to preserve the status quo and prevent the claimant from subverting the English proceedings by enforcing the judgment pending trial.

It is perhaps surprising that since the first recorded instance of the High Court granting an anti-enforcement injunction in 1928 (Ellerman Lines Limited v Read [1928] 2 KB 144) there have been so few examples of such orders being made. The Court of Appeal’s recent decision may, however, mark a change in fortune for this hitherto lesser-known cousin of the anti-suit injunction.

Bank St Petersburg OJSC and Another v Vitaly Arkhangelsky and others [2014] EWCA Civ 593

Post By Luke Pardey (3 Posts)

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