In Union Insurance PJSC v International Precious Metals Refiners LLC CFI 064/2022 (15 September 2023) Nicholas Craig KC (instructed by Clyde & Co, Dubai) has had another success in the DIFC Court (following the decisions of the Court of Appeal in Horizon Energy LLC v Al Buhaira National Insurance Company  DIFC CA 015 (4 May 2023) and AIG & ors v Qatar Insurance Co CFI 003/2022 (29 August 2022)). He acted on behalf of insurers on a jurisdiction challenge by the insured who contended that the DIFC Court did not have jurisdiction, that the claim should be struck out as an abuse of process and that the DIFC Court should decline to exercise any jurisdiction that it might have in favour of proceedings pending before the Sharjah Federal Court of First Instance. On the underlying claim, the insured claims that it lost gold in solution (with a value of about US$43 million gold) down a drain. The insured’s claim was rejected by a committee formed by the IDRC; however, the insured sought to challenge that decision and commencing proceedings in the Sharjah Federal Court of First Instance. Insurers commenced proceedings in the DIFC Courts shortly thereafter on the basis that a jurisdiction agreement which provided “Each party agrees to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of the UAE” conferred jurisdiction on the DIFC courts. Justice Wayne Martin agreed with Insurers’ position on jurisdiction, particularly following the decision of the Court of Appeal in Horizon. Further, he went on to hold that (a) in circumstances where the insured had accepted that the doctrine of lis alibi pendens was an aspect of forum non conveniens the decision of the Court of Appeal in IGPL was a fundamental obstacle and, and, in any event, even if he had concluded that the Court did have jurisdiction to stay the proceedings on the basis of forum non conveniens, he would not have exercised that jurisdiction and (b) there was nothing abusive in UIC bringing the proceedings in the DIFC court when there were already proceeding pending in another court of the UAE.
The full judgment is here.