Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, ICICI Bank UK Plc and others v KBBO CPG Investment LLC, Mr Khaleefa Butti Bin Omair Yousif Almuhari and His Excellency Saeed Mohamed Butti Mohamed Alqebaisi and others  CFI 045/2020 (the Proceedings)
AG's Dubai Commercial Litigation Team, led by Partner Shane Jury, Managing Associate Antonia Grieve-Yates and Associate Charlotte Davis, together with Finance and Debt Restructuring Partner Robin Hickman recently acted on behalf of a Syndicate of international banks (the Syndicate), in successfully obtaining:
- an order to lift a stay of the DIFC Proceedings which had been imposed following referral of an alleged conflict of jurisdiction to the Joint Judicial Committee (the JJC) established by Dubai Decree No. 19 of 2016 (the Decree) and which had been pending since June 2020. The lifting of the stay allows the Syndicate to pursue claims against the Defendants including KBBO CPG Investment LLC (the Defendants) for payment of sums in excess of US $300 million; and
- an anti-suit injunction to restrain parallel proceedings commenced by certain of the Defendants in the onshore Dubai Courts (Dubai Courts). These proceedings had been used by the Relevant Defendants to assert a conflict of jurisdiction before the JJC.
This is a significant and welcomed decision for parties litigating in the region as the filing of a JJC petition has historically resulted in an automatic stay of DIFC Court and Dubai Court proceedings, often for long periods of time until the petition could be determined. The decision confirms that the DIFC Courts will take a robust position and not permit the use of guerrilla tactics engaged in by certain parties commencing unfounded parallel proceedings in the onshore Dubai Courts for the sole purpose of filing a petition to the JJC in order to be obtain a stay. Indeed, the reasons for the decision of the DIFC Court described the conduct of the Relevant Defendants as an "appalling abuse of process".
The decision is also remarkable as the DIFC Courts granted an anti-suit injunction to restrain the parallel proceedings filed in the Dubai Courts. The granting of this relief to protect the parties' agreement on jurisdiction or alternatively to prevent conduct that is vexatious, oppressive or unconscionable is a powerful tool available to litigants in DIFC Court proceedings in order to combat the kind of guerrilla tactics referenced above.
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Partner - Head of Commercial Disputes, Middle East
Managing Associate, Dispute Resolution
Associate, Commercial and Construction Disputes