Aggeliki Charis Compania Maritima SA v Pagnan SpA – The Angelic Grace: CA 1995

On the charterers’ orders the Angelic Grace was required to tie up alongside another vessel which they owned. Whilst unloading the weather turned and the vessels collided. Each blamed the other and the owners claimed a salvage. The court considered the clause ‘all disputes from time to time arising out of this contract shall . . be referred to the arbitrament of two arbitrators carrying on business in London.’
Held: The judgment of Rix J was approved. The parties had most probably wished to have one stop adjudication, so that if a part of the claim or cross claim arose out of the contract it was inherently likely that the parties intended that they should all be heard in one forum if the facts were closely knitted together.
The court rejected the idea that the grant of an injunction to restrain foreign proceedings which were in clear breach of contract would offend against comity. It did so on the basis that it is vexatious and oppressive for a party to maintain proceedings in breach of its agreement not to do so. Millett LJ: ‘In my judgment, the time has come to lay aside the ritual incantation that this is a jurisdiction which should only be exercised sparingly and with great caution. There have been many statements of great authority warning of the danger of giving an appearance of undue interference with the proceedings of a foreign Court. Such sensitivity to the feelings of a foreign Court has much to commend it where the injunction is sought on the ground of forum non conveniens or on the general ground that the foreign proceedings are vexatious or oppressive but where no breach of contract is involved. In the former case, great care may be needed to avoid casting doubt on the fairness or adequacy of the procedures of the foreign Court. In the later case, the question whether proceedings are vexatious or oppressive is primarily a matter for the Court before which they are pending. But in my judgment there is no good reason for diffidence in granting an injunction to restrain foreign proceedings on the clear and simple ground that the defendant has promised not to being them.
I cannot accept the proposition that any Court would be offended by the grant of an injunction to restrain a party from invoking a jurisdiction which he had promised not to invoke and which it was its own duty to decline.
In my judgment, where an injunction is sought to restrain a party from proceeding in a foreign Court in breach of an arbitration agreement governed by English law, the English Court need feel no diffidence in granting the injunction, provided that it is sought promptly and before the foreign proceedings are too far advanced. I see no difference in principle between an injunction to restrain proceedings in breach of an arbitration clause and one to restrain proceedings in breach of an exclusive jurisdiction clause as in Continental Bank NA v Aeakos Compania Naviera SA, [1994] 1WLR 588. The justification for the grant of the injunction in either case is that without it the plaintiff will be deprived of its contractual rights in a situation in which damages are manifestly an inadequate remedy. The jurisdiction is, of course, discretionary and is not exercised as a matter of course, but good reason needs to be shown why it should not be exercised in any given case.’
Leggatt LJ said: ‘The question in a nutshell is whether the relevant claims and cross-claims arise out of the contract. It is common ground that the question must be answered in the light of The Playa Larga [1983] 2 Lloyd’s Law Reports 171, in which the Court upheld the dictum of Mr Justice Mustill that a tortious claim does arise out of a contract containing an arbitration clause if there is a sufficiently close connection between the tortious claim and a claim under the contract. In order that there should be a sufficiently close connection, as the Judge said, the claimant must show either that the resolution of the contractual issue is necessary for a decision on the tortious claim, or, that the contractual and tortious disputes are so closely knitted together on the facts that an agreement to arbitrate on one can properly be construed as covering the other.’
Leggatt LJ, Millett LJ, Neill LJ
[1995] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 87
England and Wales
Appeal fromAggeliki Charis Compania Maritima SA v Pagnan SpA The Angelic Grace QBD 1994
The court considered whether a claim for a collision between two ships was governed by an arbitration clause which read ‘all disputes from time to time arising out of this contract shall . . be referred to the arbitrament of two arbitrators carrying . .

Cited by:
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An agreement between the parties for assignment or novation of a credit agreement, contained a ‘take out’ agreement (‘TOA’). The defendant began proceedings in California to rescind the agreement, and the claimants obtained summary judgement under . .
CitedOT Africa Line Ltd v Magic Sportswear Corporation and others CA 13-Jun-2005
The parties to a contract had agreed that the proper law for the contract was England. One party commenced proceedings in Canada, and the courts of Canada had accepted jurisdiction as the most appropriate and convenient forum to resolve the dispute. . .
CitedFiona Trust and Holding Corp and others v Privalov and others ComC 20-Oct-2006
The parties disputed whether their claim should be arbitrated.
Held: A claim as to whether the contract itself had been made was not one which could be arbitrated by provisions in that contract. It does not arise ‘under’ the contract. The . .
CitedSheffield United Football Club Ltd v West Ham United Football Club Plc ComC 26-Nov-2008
The claimant sought an order to prevent the defendant company from pursuing further an appeal against a decision made by an independent arbitator in their favour as regards the conduct of the defendant in the Premier League in 2006/2007.
Held: . .
CitedS Ltd v C Ltd ComC 27-Feb-2009
Defamation allegation not subject to arbitration
The parties had an agreement referring disputes between them to arbitration. One party raised an allegation of defamation, but the arbitrator refused jurisdiction. The parties had chosen the London Metal Exchange for its expertise in metals trading, . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 June 2021; Ref: scu.185976