European Court of Justice Prohibits Anti-Suit Injunctions in Favor of Arbitration between National Courts of Member States
By James E. Berger and Charlene Sun
On February 10 2009, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its long-anticipated decision in West Tankers v. Allianz SpA, a case involving the ability of a party to obtain an anti-suit injunction in favor of arbitration in the European Union. The Courts decision generally affirmed the opinion of the ECJs Advocate General and holds that under Council Regulation (EC) No. 44-2001 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (Regulation 44-2001 or Regulation), a national court of one EU Member State lacks jurisdiction to issue an anti-suit injunction with regard to proceedings initiated in a court of another Member State allegedly in breach of an agreement to arbitrate. The ruling, which was largely expected and consistent with prior ECJ jurisprudence regarding anti-suit injunctions, resolves important questions about the often competing jurisdiction between courts and arbitrators.