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Australia – Courts Restrain Plaintiff Claiming Same Relief In Two Jurisdictions.

4 December, 2013

 

Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Australia – Dispute Resolution

 

The Victorian Court of Appeal has upheld a decision of the Victorian Supreme Court to restrain an Australian company from pursuing what was described as a “civil compensation claim” within Dubai criminal proceedings after a claim in which it sought identical relief was dismissed by the Australian courts. (Sunland Waterfront (BVI) Ltd & Anor v Prudentia Investments Pty Ltd & Ors [2013] VSCA 237).


The plaintiffs commenced proceedings in Australia in August 2009. The defendants to the claim were an Australian company, its Singapore subsidiary, a director of the corporate defendants and a second individual based in Dubai. Each of the individuals was, at the time, facing criminal charges in Dubai. The plaintiffs also filed a civil compensation claim within the foreign criminal proceedings against the individuals. The damages sought in Dubai mirrored those sought in Australia.


The plaintiffs’ claims were heard in the Supreme Court in December 2011. At the conclusion of the hearing, application was made successfully to restrain the plaintiffs from maintaining claims in Dubai. Judgment was given by the Supreme Court in June 2012.
In September 2013 the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against the anti-suit. In reasons for judgment, the Court discussed, inter alia, the concepts of oppression and vexation, the need for finality in civil litigation and the application of res judicata. The Court accepted that the fact of a judgment in Australia meant that the matter no longer involved only the interests of the parties, but also a public interest so that the decision to grant the injunction may also be upheld on the basis that it is necessary to protect the integrity of the processes of the Court.

 

herbert smith Freehills

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Bronwyn Lincoln, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills
bronwyn.lincoln@hsf.com

 

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