November 13, 2023
Justice Sir Jeremy Cooke, sitting in the Court of First Instance of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), has handed down two judgments dismissing a series of jurisdictional challenges to claims brought by Bank Sarasin-Alpen (ME) Limited and its liquidator for damages of over USD 75m.
The Defendants had issued proceedings against the Claimants for negative declaratory relief in Switzerland shortly prior the issue of proceedings in the DIFC. The Defendants contended that the DIFC Court was required to decline jurisdiction in favour of the Swiss Court, as the court first seised with the matter, and should adopt a doctrine of lis alibi pendens akin to that applied under the Lugano Convention and Brussels (Recast) Regulation. The Court rejected this argument, holding that no such requirement exists under DIFC law. The Court further dismissed alternative challenges to jurisdiction on grounds of forum non conveniens, and granted applications by the Claimants for extensions of time to serve the claim form on the First to Fourth Defendants.
Sharif Shivji KC, Albert Sampson, and Hossein Sharafi acted for the successful Claimants, instructed by Nick Braganza of Holman Fenwick Willan.