In this litigation Ben Elkington KC and Ben Smiley act on behalf of the survivors and relatives of the victims of an aeroplane crash in Colombia, instructed by Penningtons Manches Cooper. The survivors and relatives of the victims have obtained judgment in Florida against the operator of the aeroplane in the total amount of US$844m, and they are now seeking to recover that sum from (among others) the operator’s reinsurers and broker (AON).
In March 2021 those reinsurers sought a without notice anti-suit injunction in the Commercial Court restraining the survivors and relatives of the victims from pursuing claims against the reinsurers in Florida. The application was granted by Mr Justice Henshaw on the basis that the proceedings in Florida were ‘vexatious and oppressive.’ An anti-suit injunction was also granted by Mr Justice Foxton in favour of AON based on a jurisdiction clause in AON’s terms of business. Prior to the return date the parties adduced expert evidence on the procedural and substantive law of Florida and Colombia. The return date for the applications was heard over 2 days in September 2022 before Simon Salzedo KC (sitting as a Judge of the High Court). In the judgment he handed down on 21 December 2022 he discharged the anti-suit injunction granted by Henshaw J. on the basis that (i) England was not clearly the most appropriate forum for the claim against the reinsurers, (ii) the proceedings in Florida were not vexatious and oppressive, and (iii) there had been excessive delay by reinsurers. The injunction granted by Foxton J. was continued. The judgment contains a useful summary of the legal principles relating to non-contractual and quasi-contractual anti-suit injunctions.