In Excalibur Ventures, the English High Court issued an anti-arbitration injunction preventing the claimant from further pursuing ICC arbitration proceedings seated in NewYork and refused to stay court proceedings initiated by the claimant (against the same defendants to the arbitral proceedings) in London's Commercial Court, reserving to itself the determination of the foreign arbitral tribunal's jurisdiction. At first sight, the decision does not appear to be very 'arbitration-friendly' and perhaps even something of an assault on the principle of the negative effect of the 'competence-competence'. However, the decision should be viewed in the context of the unusual circumstances that existed in that case. This article examines the reasons giving rise to the court's decision and considers its wider implications for international arbitration.
So flash'd and fell the brand Excalibur: But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful, And caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him Three times, and drew him under in the mere.
Alfred, LordTennyson (1809-1892)Journal of International Arbitration