Channel Tunnel Group Ltd v Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd and Others: HL 17 Feb 1993

The court has the power to stay an action which pursued a remedy which was outside the terms of the arbitration agreement determining the dispute. The contract between the parties provided for disputes to be settled by arbitration in Belgium. The plaintiff sought injunctive relief from an English court. The defendant requested a stay.
Held: The 1950 Act did not give power to a court to provide injunctive relief operative over a foreign arbitration, but such was available under the 1981 Act, but the effect here would be to pre-empt the arbitration and relief was not appropriate. As to the Siskina case: ‘the doctrine of The Siskina, put at its highest, is that the right to an interlocutory injunction cannot exist in isolation, but is always incidental to and dependent on the enforcement of a substantive right, which usually although not invariably takes the shape of a cause of action’.
Lord Browne-Wilkinson: ‘Although the respondents have been validly served (i.e., there is jurisdiction in the court) and there is an alleged invasion of the appellants’ contractual rights (i.e., there is a cause of action in English law), since the final relief (if any) will be granted by the arbitrators and not by the English court, the English court, it is said, has no power to grant the interlocutory injunction. In my judgment that submission is not well founded.’ and ‘ . . the court has power to grant interlocutory relief based on a cause of action recognised by English law against a defendant duly served where such relief is ancillary to a final order whether to be granted by the English court or by some other court or abitral body.’


Lord Browne-Wilkinson


Gazette 17-Feb-1993, [1993] 2 WLR 262, [1993] 1 All ER 664, [1993] AC 334


Arbitration Act 1979 1, Supreme Court Act 1981 37(1), Arbitration Act 1950 12(6)


CitedSiskina (owners of Cargo lately on Board) v Distos Compania Naviera SA HL 1979
An injunction was sought against a Panamanian ship-owning company to restrain it from disposing of a fund, consisting of insurance proceeds, in England. The claimant for the injunction was suing the company in a Cyprus court for damages and believed . .
CitedBremer Vulkan Schiffbau Und Maschinenfabrik v South India Shipping Corp Ltd HL 1981
Where both parties to a contract are in breach of a mutual obligation owed by each to the other, neither can rely upon the other’s breach as giving him a right to terminate. The Court of Appeal has an inherent power to control its own procedure to . .
Appeal fromChannel Tunnel Group Ltd and Another v Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd and Others CA 1-Apr-1992
The arbitration agreement specified that disputes were to be arbitrated in Brussels, therefore there was no jurisdiction in an English court. . .

Cited by:

CitedHalpern and Another v Halpern and others ComC 24-Mar-2006
The deceased parents, being orthodox Jews, had first made standard wills and then made provision accoding to Jewish law. A dispute after the second death was referred to a Beth Din arbitration. After an initial resolution, various distributions were . .
CitedLegal Services Commission v Aaronson and others QBD 24-May-2006
The Commission sought to enforce an order requiring the defendant solicitors firm to produce to it all files on which bills had not yet been submitted. The defendant said that the request was in breach of an arbitration agreement. The commission . .
CitedFourie v Le Roux and others HL 24-Jan-2007
The appellant, liquidator of two South African companies, had made a successful without notice application for an asset freezing order. He believed that the defendants had stripped the companies of substantial assets. The order was set aside for . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.78976