Global law firm and Baltic Exchange member HFW has used legislation granting parties the right to challenge an arbitral award to successfully win an appeal against $70m of damages
HFW has successfully had a $70m London arbitration award against one of its clients set aside following an appeal to the English High Court.
A London arbitral tribunal had previously awarded substantial damages to ship owner Loki Owning Company Ltd, which alleged that HFW’s client, Chinese steel company Jiangsu Shagang Group Co Ltd, had guaranteed the performance of a time charter contract. HFW appealed to the English High Court under section 67 of the English Arbitration Act 1996, which allows parties to challenge an arbitral award on substantive jurisdiction. The High Court judge found that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction and set aside the award.
Commenting on the win, HFW disputes partner Trevor Fox said: “It is rare to successfully set aside a London arbitration award, but this is a case where it was appropriate. In its approach and in issuing this decision, the High Court has shown its ability and willingness to provide sophisticated support to international arbitration. We are very pleased to have been able to help our client obtain this result.”
Appeals on substantive jurisdiction are treated by the Court as a complete rehearing. On receiving documentary and oral evidence that was not before the Tribunal, the Court went on to make findings of fact and witness assessments that were markedly different from those reached by the Tribunal, including that it found Jiangsu Shagang’s witnesses to be highly credible.
The High Court has shown its ability and willingness to provide sophisticated support to international arbitration
The HFW team was led by Fox and shipping partner Julian Davies, who are both based in the firm’s Shanghai office.
HFW has one of the largest and most active disputes practices in the market, covering litigation – including commercial litigation – international arbitration and alternative forms of dispute resolution. The firm has specialist disputes teams in each of its 18 offices worldwide, and regularly handles high-value, complex, multi-party and multi-jurisdictional disputes. The firm’s expertise spans a wide range of sectors and industries, including aviation, commodities, construction, energy, insurance and shipping.
A recent report by UK trade publication The Lawyer revealed that HFW spent 70 days litigating in the UK Commercial Court in 2016 and 2017 – more than any other law firm. The Lawyer also recently ranked HFW as the fifth most active litigation firm among FTSE 100 clients.
The full High Court judgment can be seen here.
Update from March 14, 2018: The owners’ application for leave to appeal, made before Justice Carr in the London High Court on March 13, 2018, was refused. The judgement is therefore final.
HFW is a law firm that works with companies in the shipping, insurance, commodities, energy, aviation and construction sectors. For more information, visit www.hfw.com/Home.