Russian Court Strikes Down Unilateral Option Jurisdiction Clauses

The Financial Times has reported yesterday on a recent judgment of the Russian Arbitration Court in Sony v. RTC in which the court struck down a unilateral option jurisdiction clause.

The case involved two commercial companies, Sony and Russian Telephone Company (RTC). The contract included a clause which forbad the Russian party to sue in Russia while, it seems, giving much more freedom to Sony to bring proceedings. The Russian party nevertheless sued in a Russian court, which retained jurisdiction notwithstanding the jurisdiction clause.

The chief of staff of the Russian court is reported to have specifically referred to the judgment of the French supreme court which struck down a one way jurisdiction clause in September.


  • A full report on the case is available here.
  • See also the guest post of MM Sullivan and Maynard on the Russian judgment in today’s FT
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About Gilles Cuniberti

Gilles Cuniberti is a professor of law at the University of Luxembourg. Previously, he taught for 10 years at the Faculty of Law of Paris 12 University (Paris Val-de-Marne). His primary teaching and research interests are comparative law, conflict of laws, international arbitration and international litigation. He is a regular contributor to the Journal de Droit International (Clunet). He has been a visiting faculty at Duke Law School, Renmin University of China and Sheffield Hallam University. He holds a Doctorate in Law from Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne University and an LL.M. degree from Yale Law School. He was also a Paris-Oxford Doctoral Program Scholar for a year at Trinity College, Oxford. He is admitted to the Paris Bar and practiced on a part-time basis in the Paris office of a leading English firm from 1999 to 2004. SELECTED ARTICLES: Beyond Contract - The Case for Default Arbitration in International commercial Disputes, 32 FORDHAM INT'L L.J. 417 (2009) Le principe de territorialité des voies d'exécution, JOURNAL DU DROIT INTERNATIONAL 2008.963 The Recognition of Judgments Lacking Reasons in Europe: Access to Justice, Foreign Court Avoidance and Efficiency, 57 INT’L & COMP. L. Q. 25 (2008) L’apprezzamento dell’efficacia della clausola arbitrale da parte del giudice statale : un conflitto tra Italia e Francia, 21 DIRITTO COMMERCIO INTERNAZIONALE 2007.789 (with M. Winkler) E-mail: