Return to site

Anti-suit injunctions don't offend judicial comity

Hong Kong injunctions against PRC proceedings in aid of UK proceedings

The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal has held that anti-suit injunctions granted in Hong Kong in aid of English proceedings taken to restrain proceedings in the PRC did not offend the court's policy of judicial comity. In Compania Sud Americana de Vapores S.A. v Hin-Pro International Logistics Ltd [2016] FICR 39; [2016] HKCFA 79, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales writing the judgment for the court, said that it has been recognised that an anti-suit injunction in support of an exclusive jurisdiction clause, while constituting an indirect interference with the process of a foreign court, does not thereby infringe judicial comity. This is because the relief is directed not against the foreign court but against the individual defendant who is disregarding his contractual obligations.

A freight forwarder commenced numerous proceedings in the PRC on bills of lading in breach of an English exclusive jurisdiction clause. The shipping company obtained anti-suit and Mareva injunctions in England and sought similar in Hong Kong under s 21M of the High Court Ordinance (Cap 4). Although initially granted, an injunction was later discharged on the ground that the court’s policy of judicial comity required it to refuse to make any order effectively choosing between the courts of two countries. this was upheld by the HK Court of Appeal but overturned by the Court of Final Appeal.

See full head note here.