OT 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. Proceedings were also begun in England, and the original Canadian claimant now appealed a refusal to restrain the action.
Held: The appeal failed. Whilst it was important to avoid a clash of jurisdictions, the autonomy of the parties to make their own contract was more important than the place of business or where the location was made: ‘no English court would expect a foreign court to grant a stay by reason of any provision of English law, if an action was proceeding in that foreign court by virtue of an agreement, governed by the law of that court, that proceedings were to be brought in the courts of that country. Conversely an English court would hope that a decision to retain an action brought in England, pursuant to an exclusive jurisdiction clause in a contract governed by English law, would be respected by any foreign court.’ However: ‘In the case of exclusive jurisdiction clauses, however, comity has a smaller role. It goes without saying that any court should pay respect to another (foreign) court but, if the parties have actually agreed that a foreign court is to have sole jurisdiction over any dispute, the true role of comity is to ensure that the parties’ agreement is respected.’


Laws, Rix and Longmore LJJ


[2005] EWCA Civ 710, Times 21-Jun-2005, [2006] 1 All ER (Comm) 32, [2005] 2 LLR 170, [2005] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 170, [2005] 1 CLC 923




Contracts (Applicable Law) Act 1990


England and Wales


CitedDonohue v Armco Inc and others HL 13-Dec-2001
The appellant had sought injunctions against the respondent US companies to restrain their commencing proceedings in the US against him. The parties had negotiated for the purchase of the run-off liabilities of a defunct insurance company. . .
CitedThe Eleftheria 1970
In general, and all other things being equal, it is more satisfactory (from the point of view of ensuring that justice is done) for the law of a foreign country to be decided by the courts of that country.
Brandon J said: ‘I further regard, . .
CitedThe El Amria 1981
The court set out the principles to be applied where a party seeks to enforce or act in breach of a choice of jurisdiction contract. If a party seek to sue here in breach of such a clause, the court has a discretion to stay, but a stay should be . .
CitedVita Food Products Inc v Unus Shipping Co Ltd PC 30-Jan-1939
(Nova Scotia) Goods were shipped from Newfoundland under a bill of lading which contained an exemption for loss caused by the servants of the carrier. This exemption was void by the law of Newfoundland, whose legislature had enacted the Hague Rules, . .
CitedAdams v National Bank of Greece HL 1961
Questions of interpretation and enforcement of contracts are resolved by reference to the proper law. Although debt under a contract whose proper law is the law of another jurisdiction may, for the purposes of Scots law, be discharged by insolvency . .
CitedAirbus Industrie G I E v Patel and Others HL 2-Apr-1999
An Indian Airlines Airbus A-320 crashed at Bangalore airport after an internal Indian flight. The plaintiff passengers lived in England. Proceedings began in Bangalore against the airline and the airport authority. The natural forum was the . .
CitedAMCHEM Products Incorporated v British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Board) 24-Mar-1993
Supreme Court of Canada – Courts – Appropriate forum – Action commenced in U.S. courts – Plaintiffs largely resident in Canada – Most of corporate defendants with some connection with state where action brought – Anti-suit injunction sought in . .
CitedErich Gasser GmbH v MISAT Srl ECJ 9-Dec-2003
The claimant Austrian company had for many years sold goods to the defendant an Italian company. Eventually it presented a claim before the court in Italy. Having obtained judgement, it later sought to enforce the order through the Austrian court . .
CitedSabah Shipyard (Pakistan) Ltd v The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Another CA 14-Nov-2002
An order was sought to restrain proceedings in Pakistan.
Held: The agreement provided that it should be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of England. The national state was also party to the agreement, and had waived sovereign immunity. It . .
CitedAggeliki 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 . .
CitedContinental Bank Na v Aeakos Compania Naviera Sa and Others CA 26-Nov-1993
The Bank was entitled to an injunction in the UK, by virtue of the jurisdiction given in their agreement, even though it was not the UK court which was first seised of the matter. Steyn LJ said: ‘. . a claim for damages for breach of contract would . .
CitedSociete Nationale Industrielle Aerospatiale v Lee Kui Jak, Yong Joon Kim and, Lee Kui Jak (F) PC 14-May-1987
Brunei Darussalam – The Board was asked where a civil claim should be tried.
Held: The court stated some principles governing the grant of anti-suit injunctions restraining foreign proceedings. The inconvenience of a forum is of itself not a . .
CitedThe Fehmarn 1957
Willmer J said: ‘Clearly it requires a strong case to satisfy the court that the agreement [an express agreement to submit to a foreign tribunal] should be overridden.’ . .
CitedThe Fehmarn 1958
The effect of an agreement prorogating a foreign jurisdiction is to confer on the English court a discretion to stay the English proceedings. . .
CitedTurner v Grovit and others HL 13-Dec-2001
The applicant was a solicitor employed by a company in Belgium. He later resigned claiming unfair dismissal, saying he had been pressed to become involved in unlawful activities. The defendants sought to challenge the jurisdiction of the English . .
CitedTurner v Grovit ECJ 27-Apr-2004
The claimant had been employed as a solicitor by the respondent at locations across Europe, and came to claim in England that they had wrongly implicated him in unlawful activity. The company sought to issue proceedings in Spain.
Held: The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Jurisdiction, Contract

Leading Case

Updated: 31 January 2022; Ref: scu.226156