du Pont du Nemours v Agnew: CA 1987

An application was made to injunct the commencement of proceedings in England.
Held: The request failed. The court was asked whether the English claimants had shown a good argument for invoking the jurisdiction of the English court against foreign defendants.
An element which may persuade the English court that the choice of English law makes England the appropriate forum include the fact that issues of English public policy may be involved. It remains however a fundamental error simply to equate choice of governing law with the choice of forum. Litigation in one place and at one time is, if it can be achieved, preferable, though: ‘the general undesirability of such concurrent proceedings is, however, but one consideration to be weighed as part of the overall assessment . . The policy of the law must nonetheless be to favour the litigation of issues once only, in the most appropriate forum’. He stated that ‘It cannot necessarily lead to a stay or setting aside of English proceedings’.
As to the affect of timing, Bingham LJ said: ‘. . I do not regard this as a case in which the dates of the beginning proceedings are significant. As it happens, the English proceedings began first and the Illinois action a month later. It might have been the other way round. I do not think the outcome of these appeals should be affected by what is little more than an accident of timing.’


Bingham LJ


[1987] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 585


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedSawyer v Atari Interactive Inc ChD 1-Nov-2005
The claimant owned the copyright in several successful computer games. He had granted licenses for the use of the software, which licences were assigned to the defendants. Disputes arose as to the calculation of royalty payments, and the claimant . .
CitedNovus Aviation Ltd v Onur Air Tasimacilik As CA 27-Feb-2009
The defendant appealed against a refusal to set aside the grant of leave to serve outside the jurisdiction granted to the claimant. Neither party conducted and business in England, and the contract was made in Switzerland, but was expressed to be . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 08 April 2022; Ref: scu.237270