Claim No: CFI-026-2014
THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE COURTS
IN THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
STANDARD CHARTERED BANK
INVESTMENT GROUP PRIVATE LIMITED
ORDER OF JUSTICE SIR JEREMY COOKE
UPON reviewing the Defendant’s Appeal Notice dated 13 March 2017 and supporting documents, seeking permission to appeal the decision of Deputy Chief Justice Sir David Steel made orally at the hearing on 6 March 2017 in relation to the Defendant’s Application Notice CFI-026-2014/6 dated 23 February 2017 for permission to submit counterclaims
AND UPON reviewing the Claimant’s response to the Appeal Notice dated 22 March 2017
AND UPON reviewing the Defendant’s comments on the Claimant’s response dated 23 March 2017
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1.The Defendant be denied permission to appeal.
2. No request for reconsideration of this order at an oral hearing be permitted as this appeal is totally without merit.
3. The Defendant’s application for a stay of the proceedings be denied.
Maha Al Mehairi
Date of issue: 2 April 2017
SCHEDULE OF REASONS
1.The Judge’s reasons appear from the transcript of the argument and the exchanges between the Judge and Counsel. There was no need for any additional reasons.
2. There is no point of law involved here. The decision was a procedural decision in the context of a case where the Defendant had been taking every opportunity to disrupt the progress of the proceedings in this Court.
3. The Court order did not purport to interfere with the jurisdiction of the Union Court, in imposing the condition it did. It imposed a condition on the Defendant for the pursuit of its potential counterclaims.
4. The Defendant applied to admit to file and serve unpleaded counterclaims in this action in the DIFC where the Claimant was seeking summary judgment against it. The counterclaims it wished to pursue were the same as, or based on the same or virtually identical grounds as its defence in this Court and the case which it had previously sought to pursue in other courts in the UAE, both in Sharjah and Dubai, whilst challenging the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts. Its challenges to the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts failed in the Court of First Instance and on appeal to the Court of Appeal and the decision of the Sharjah Courts were adverse to it (including the Court of Cassation). It applied to the Dubai Courts where the Claimant sought a stay. It sought to apply to the Union Supreme Court, but the Joint Judicial Committee, having initially stayed the DIFC proceedings, subsequently lifted that stay on or about 13 February 2017 approving this Court’s jurisdiction to hear and determine the claim.
5. The Defendant, in seeking admission of its counterclaims in the DIFC Courts was, self-evidently, then not only prepared to accept the DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction but wished to avail itself of it in order to pursue its counterclaims.
6. The Claimant submitted that the DIFC Courts should not admit the counterclaims unless the Defendant was prepared to give the undertaking set out in paragraph 12 of the Defendant’s Application for permission to appeal, namely:
“The Applicant [the Defendant] undertakes that it will take any and all necessary steps to withdraw its referrals to the Union Supreme Court in Case No. 5 of 2016 and Case No.6 of 2016 which have been rendered redundant by the Judicial Authority Order in so far as they relate to Dubai Court Case No. 724/2016 and further undertakes that it will not make any additional referrals to the Union Supreme Court seeking to contest the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts in these proceedings.”
7. The Judge was entitled to make the admission of the counterclaim conditional on the giving of such an undertaking in circumstances where the Defendant had pursued jurisdictional challenges, had delayed the substantive hearing of the Claimant’s claim under a Loan Agreement for many years and appeared to wish to be able to pursue the same claims elsewhere, in addition to relying on them in the DIFC Courts. That was a proper judicial exercise of procedural or case management powers and is beyond challenge.
8. No appeal would have any realistic prospects of success; nor is there any other compelling reason why is should be heard.
9. As this appeal is totally without merit, no request for reconsideration of this order at an oral hearing is to be permitted.
10. There is therefore no basis for a stay of the DIFC proceedings either.
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