“Holding the ring” – arbitration and English courts
By Jenni Jenkins and Thomas Grace, Memery Crystal LLP
When can English courts provide interim assistance or support to parties engaged in arbitration?
While the court’s role in arbitrations is supportive, rather than supervisory, even when England is not the nominated seat of arbitration, parties may be able to apply to English courts for interlocutory relief in supporting arbitral proceedings.
Court powers exercisable in support of arbitration include:
1. Taking/preserving evidence (e.g. ordering a witness to give a deposition);
2. Orders relating to property (e.g. the appointment of a receiver); and
3. Orders relating to interim injunctions (e.g. a freezing order).
For the court to intervene without the other party’s consent or permission from the tribunal, it must be satisfied that the matter is either urgent or that the tribunal cannot itself act effectively.
Urgency is defined as there being insufficient time to either expedite the formation of the tribunal or appoint an emergency arbitrator. Situations where the tribunal cannot itself act effectively would include those where it cannot exercise the necessary powers sought, such as a freezing injunction binding a third party.
This course of action is therefore most pertinent when urgent injunctive proceedings are required. However, while the court can make any order it sees fit, its intention is that any interim relief it orders, which the tribunal could exercise were it formed, will not go beyond holding the ring until the tribunal is constituted.
Jenni JenkinsMemery Crystal LLP, London, UK
T: +44 20 7242 59 05
Jenni Jenkins is a Director and Thomas Grace is a Trainee Solicitor at Memery Crystal, a firm with an enviable reputation as a commercial legal practice, whose main practice areas include alternative finance, public and private M&A, corporate finance, equity capital markets, real estate and construction, dispute resolution, employment, commercial contracts and tax.
Memery Crystal LLP acts for a broad range of clients, from multi-national companies to financial institutions and individual entrepreneurs, offering a partner-led service that prides itself on the strength of its client relationships.
Published: Spring 2017 l Photo: Anthony Brown - Fotolia.com