No role for anti-suit injunctions under the TTPA to enforce exclusive jurisdiction agreements

Australian and New Zealand courts have developed a practice of managing trans-Tasman proceedings in a way that recognises the close relationship between the countries, and that aids in the effective and efficient resolution of cross-border disputes. This has been the case especially since the implementation of the Agreement on Trans-Tasman Court Proceedings and Regulatory Enforcement, which was entered into for the purposes of setting up an integrated scheme of civil jurisdiction and judgments.  A key feature of the scheme is that it seeks to “streamline the process for resolving civil proceedings with a trans-Tasman element in order to reduce costs and improve efficiency” (Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010 (TTPA), s 3(1)(a)). There have been many examples of Australian and New Zealand courts working to achieve this goal.

Despite the closeness of the trans-Tasman relationship, one question that had remained uncertain was whether the TTPA regime allows for the grant of an anti-suit injunction to stop or prevent proceedings that have been brought in breach of an exclusive jurisdiction agreement. The enforcement of exclusive jurisdiction agreements is explicitly protected in the regime, which adopted the approach of the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements in anticipation of Australia and New Zealand signing up to the Convention. Section 28 of the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010 (NZ) and s 22 of the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010 (Cth) provide that a court must not restrain a person from commencing or continuing a civil proceeding across the Tasman “on the grounds that [the other court] is not the appropriate forum for the proceeding”. In the secondary literature, different opinions have been expressed whether this provision extends to injunctions on the grounds that the other court is not the appropriate forum due to the existence of an exclusive jurisdiction agreement: see Mary Keyes “Jurisdiction Clauses in New Zealand Law” (2019) 50 VUWLR 631 at 633-4; Maria Hook and Jack Wass The Conflict of Laws in New Zealand (LexisNexis, 2020) at [2.445].

The New Zealand High Court has now decided that, in its view, there is no place for anti-suit injunctions under the TTPA regime: A-Ward Ltd v Raw Metal Corp Pty Ltd [2024] NZHC 736 at [4]. Justice O’Gorman reasoned that the TTPA involves New Zealand and Australian courts applying “mirror provisions to determine forum disputes, based on confidence in each other’s judicial institutions” (at [4]), and that anti-suit injunctions can have “no role to play where countries have agreed on judicial cooperation in the allocation and exercise of jurisdiction” (at [17]).

A-Ward Ltd, a New Zealand company, sought an interim anti-suit injunction to stop proceedings brought against it by Raw Metal Corp Pty Ltd, an Australian company, in the Federal Court of Australia. The dispute related to the supply of shipping container tilters from A-Ward to Raw Metal. A-Ward’s terms and conditions had included an exclusive jurisdiction clause selecting the courts of New Zealand, as well as a New Zealand choice of law clause. In its Australian proceedings, Raw Metal sought damages for misleading and deceptive conduct in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA). A-Ward brought proceedings in New Zealand seeking damages for breach of its trade terms, including the jurisdiction clause, as well as an anti-suit injunction.

O’Gorman J’s starting point was to identify the different common law tests that courts had applied when determining an application to the court to stay its own proceedings, based on the existence (or not) of an exclusive jurisdiction clause. While Spiliada principles applied in the absence of such a clause, The Eleftheria provided the relevant test to determine the enforceability of an exclusive jurisdiction clause: at [16]. The alternative to a stay was to seek an anti-suit injunction, which, however, was a controversial tool, because of its potential to “interfere unduly with a foreign court controlling its own processes” (at [17]).

Having set out the competing views in the secondary literature, the Court concluded that anti-suit injunctions were not available to enforce jurisdiction agreements otherwise falling within the scope of the TTPA, based on the following reason (at [34]):

  1. The term “appropriate forum” in ss 28 (NZ) and s 22 (Aus) of the respective Acts could not, “as a matter of reasonable interpretation”, be restricted to questions of appropriate forum in the absence of an exclusive jurisdiction agreement. This was not how the term had been used in the common law (see The Eleftheria).
  2. The structure of the TTPA regime reinforced this point, because it is on an application under s 22 (NZ)/ s 17 (Aus), for a stay of proceedings on the basis that the other court is the more appropriate forum, that a court must give effect to an exclusive jurisdiction agreement under s 25 (NZ)/ s 20 (Aus).
  3. Sections 25 (NZ) and 20 (Aus) already provided strong protection to exclusive choice of court agreements, and introducing additional protection by way of anti-suit relief “would only create uncertainty, inefficiency, and the risk of inconsistency, all of which the TTPA regime was designed to avoid”.
  4. The availability of anti-suit relief would “rest on the assumption that the courts in each jurisdiction might reach a different result, giving a parochial advantage”. This, however, would be “inconsistent with the entire basis for the TTPA regime – that the courts apply the same codified tests and place confidence in each other’s judicial institutions”.
  5. Australian case law (Great Southern Loans v Locator Group [2005] NSWSC 438), to the effect that anti-suit injunctions continue to be available domestically as between Australian courts, was distinguishable because there was no express provision for exclusive choice of court agreements, which is what “makes a potentially conflicting common law test unpalatable”.
  6. Retaining anti-suit injunctions to enforce exclusive jurisdiction agreements would be inconsistent with the concern underpinning s 28 (NZ)/ s 22 (Aus) about “someone trying to circumvent the trans-Tasman regime as a whole”.
  7. The availability of anti-suit relief would defeat the purpose of the scheme to prevent duplication of proceedings.
  8. More generally, anti-suit injunctions “have no role to play where countries have agreed on judicial cooperation in the allocation and exercise of jurisdiction”.

The Court further concluded that, even if the TTPA did not exclude the power to order an anti-suit injunction, there was no basis for doing so in this case in relation to Raw Metal’s claim under the CCA (at [35]). There was “nothing invalid or unconscionable about Australia’s policy choice” to prevent parties from contracting out of their obligations under the CCA, even though New Zealand law (in the form of the Fair Trading Act 1986) might now follow a different policy. The TTPA regime included exceptions to the enforcement of exclusive jurisdiction agreements. Here, A-Ward seemed to have anticipated that, from the perspective of the Australian court, enforcement of the New Zealand jurisdiction clause would have fallen within one of these exceptions, and the High Court of Australia’s observations in Karpik v Carnival plc [2023] HCA 39 at [40] seemed to be consistent with this. The “entirely orthodox position” seemed to be that the Federal Court in Australia “would regard itself as having jurisdiction to determine the CCA claim, unconstrained by the choice of law and court” (at [35]).

Time will tell whether Australian courts will agree with the High Court’s emphatic rejection of anti-suit relief under the TTPA as being inconsistent with the cooperative purpose of the scheme. The parallel debate within the context of the Hague Choice of Court Convention – which does not specifically exclude anti-suit injunctions – may be instructive here: Mukarrum Ahmed “Exclusive choice of court agreements: some issues on the Hague Convention on choice of court agreements and its relationship with the Brussels I recast especially anti-suit injunctions, concurrent proceedings and the implications of BREXIT” (2017) 13 Journal of Private International Law 386. Despite O’Gorman J’s powerful reasoning, her judgment may not be the last word on this important issue.

From a New Zealand perspective, the judgment is also of interest because of its restrained approach to the availability of anti-suit relief more generally. Even assuming that the Australian proceedings were, in fact, in breach of the New Zealand jurisdiction clause, O’Gorman J would not have been prepared to grant an injunction as a matter of course. In this respect, the judgment may be seen as a departure from previous case law. In Maritime Mutual Insurance Association (NZ) Ltd v Silica Sandport Inc [2023] NZHC 793, for example, the Court granted an anti-suit injunction to compel compliance with an arbitration agreement, without inquiring into the foreign court’s perspective and its reasons for taking jurisdiction. O’Gorman J’s more nuanced approach is to be welcomed (for criticism of Maritime Mutual, see here on The Conflict of Laws in New Zealand blog).

A more challenging aspect of the judgment is the choice of law analysis, and the Court’s focus on the potential concurrent or cumulative application of foreign and domestic statutes (at [28]-[31], [35]). The Court said that, to determine whether a foreign statute is applicable, the New Zealand court can ask whether the statute applies on its own terms (following Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections v Fujitsu New Zealand Ltd [2023] NZHC 3598, which I criticised here on The Conflict of Laws in New Zealand blog, also published as [2024] NZLJ 22). It is not entirely clear how this point was relevant to the issue of the anti-suit injunction. The Judge’s reasoning seemed to be that, from the New Zealand court’s perspective, the Australian court’s application of the CCA was appropriate as a matter of statutory interpretation and/or choice of law, which meant that the proceedings were not unconscionable or unjust (at [35]).

Lex Fori Reigns Supreme: Indian High Court (Finally) Confirms Applicability of the Indian Law by ‘Default’ in all International Civil and Commercial Matters

Written by Shubh Jaiswal, student, Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat (India) and Professor Saloni Khanderia, JGLS. 

In the landmark case of TransAsia Private Capital vs Gaurav Dhawan, the Delhi High Court clarified that Indian Courts are not automatically required to determine and apply the governing law of a dispute unless the involved parties introduce expert evidence to that effect. This clarification came during the court’s examination of an execution petition stemming from a judgment by the High Court of Justice Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Commercial Court. The Division Bench of the Delhi High Court invoked the precedent set by the United Kingdom Supreme Court in Brownlie v. FS Cairo, shedding light on a contentious issue: the governing law of a dispute when parties do not sufficiently prove the applicability of foreign law.

The Delhi High Court has established that in the absence of evidence proving the applicability of a foreign law identified as the ‘proper law of the contract’, Indian law will be applied as the default jurisdiction. This decision empowers Indian courts to apply Indian law by ‘default’ in adjudicating international civil and commercial disputes, even in instances where an explicit governing law has been selected by the parties, unless there is a clear insistence on applying the law of a specified country. This approach aligns with the adversarial system common to most common law jurisdictions, where courts are not expected to determine the applicable law proactively. Instead, the legal representatives must argue and prove the content of foreign law.

This ruling has significant implications for the handling of foreign-related civil and commercial matters in India, highlighting a critical issue: the lack of private international law expertise among legal practitioners. Without adequate knowledge of the choice of law rules, there’s a risk that international disputes could always lead to the default application of Indian law, exacerbated by the absence of codified private international law norms in India. This situation underscores the need for specialized training in private international law to navigate the complexities of international litigation effectively.

Facts in brief

As such, the dispute in Transasia concerned an execution petition filed under Section 44A of the Indian Civil Procedure Code, 1908, for the enforcement of a foreign judgment passed by the High Court of Justice Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Commercial Court. The execution petitioner had brought a suit against the judgment debtor before the aforementioned court for default under two personal guarantees with respect to two revolving facility loan agreements. While these guarantee deeds contained choice of law clauses and required the disputes to be governed by the ‘Laws of the Dubai International Finance Centre’ and ‘Singapore Law’ respectively, the English Court had applied English law to the dispute and decided the dispute in favour of the execution petitioner. Accordingly, the judgment debtor opposed the execution of the petition before the Delhi HC for the application of incorrect law by the Court in England.

It is in this regard that the Delhi HC invoked the ‘default rule’ and negated the contention of the judgment debtor. The Bench relied on the decision rendered by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in Brownlie v. FS Cairo, which postulated that “if a party does not rely on a particular rule of law even though it would be entitled to do so, it is not generally for the court to apply the rule of its own motion.

The HC confirmed that foreign law is conceived as a question of fact in India. Thus, it was for each party to choose whether to plead a case that a foreign system of law was applicable to the claim, but neither party was obliged to do so, and if neither party did, the court would apply its own law to the issues in dispute. To that effect, the HC also relied on Aluminium Industrie Vaassen BV, wherein the English Court had applied English law to a sales contract even when a provision expressly stipulated the application of Dutch law—only because neither party pleaded Dutch law.

Thus, in essence, the HC observed that courts would only be mandated to apply the chosen law if either party had pleaded its application and the case was ‘well-founded’. In the present dispute, the judgment debtor had failed to either plead or establish that English law would not be applicable before the Court in England and had merely challenged jurisdiction, and thus, the Delhi HC held that the judgment could not be challenged at the execution stage.

Choosing the Proper Law

The mechanism employed to ascertain the applicable law under Indian private international law depends on whether the parties have opted to resolve their dispute before a court or an arbitral tribunal. In arbitration matters, the identification of the applicable law similarly depends on the express and implied choice of the parties. Similarly, in matters of litigation, courts rely on the common law doctrine of the ‘proper law of the contract’ to discern the applicable law while adjudicating such disputes on such obligations. Accordingly, the proper law depends on the express and implied choice of the parties. When it comes to the determination of the applicable law through the express choice of the parties, Indian law, despite being uncodified, is coherent and conforms to the practices of several major legal systems, such as the UK, the EU’s 27 Member States, and its BRICS partners, Russia and China – insofar as it similarly empowers the parties to choose the law of any country with which they desire their disputes to be settled. Thus, it is always advised that parties keen on being governed by the law of a particular country must ensure to include a clause to this effect in their agreement if they intend to adjudicate any disputes that might arise by litigation because it is unlikely for the court to regard any other factor, such as previous contractual relationships between them, to identify their implied choice.

Questioning the Assumed: Manoeuvring through the Intricate Terrain of Private International Law and Party Autonomy in the Indian Judicial System

By reiterating the ‘default rule’ in India and presenting Indian courts with another opportunity to apply Indian law, this judgment has demonstrated the general tendency on the part of the courts across India to invariably invoke Indian law – albeit in an implicit manner – without any (actual) examination as to the country with which the contract has its closest and most real connection. Further, the lack of expertise by the members of the Bar in private international law-related matters and choice of law rules implies that most, if not all, foreign-related civil and commercial matters would be governed by Indian law in its capacity as the lex fori. Therefore, legal representatives should actively advocate for disputes to be resolved according to the law specified in their dispute resolution clause rather than assuming that the court will automatically apply the law of the designated country in adjudicating the dispute.

Foreign parties may not want Indian law to apply to their commercial contracts, especially when they have an express provision against the same. Apart from being unclear and uncertain, the present state of India’s practice and policy debilitates justice and fails to meet the commercial expectations of the parties by compelling litigants to be governed by Indian law regardless of the circumstance and the nature of the dispute—merely because they failed to plead the application of their chosen law.

This would inevitably lead to foreign parties opting out of the jurisdiction of the Indian courts by concluding choice of court agreements in favour of other forums so as to avoid the application of the Republic’s ambiguous approach towards the law that would govern their commercial contracts. Consequently, Indian courts may rarely find themselves chosen as the preferred forum through a choice of court agreement for the adjudication of such disputes when they have no connection to the transaction. In circumstances where parties are unable to opt out of the jurisdiction of Indian courts – perhaps because of the lack of agreement to this effect, the inconsistencies would hamper international trade and commerce in India, with parties from other jurisdictions wanting to avoid concluding contracts with Indian businessmen and traders so as to avert plausible disputes being adjudicated before Indian courts (and consequently being governed by Indian law).

Therefore, Indian courts should certainly reconsider the application of the ‘default rule’, and limit the application of the lex fori in order to respect party autonomy.

Cross-Border Litigation and Comity of Courts: A Landmark Judgment from the Delhi High Court

Written by Tarasha Gupta, student, Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat (India) and Saloni Khanderia, Professor, Jindal Global Law School


In its recent judgment in Shiju Jacob Varghese v. Tower Vision Limited,[1] the Delhi High Court (“HC”) held that an appeal before an Indian civil court was infructuous due to a consent order passed by the Tel Aviv District Court in a matter arising out of the same cause of action. The Court deemed the suit before Indian courts an attempt to re-litigate the same cause of action, thus an abuse of process violative of the principle of comity of courts.

In doing so, the Court appears to have clarified confusions arising in light of the explanation to Section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (“CPC”), on one side, and parties’ right to choice of court agreements and forum non conveniens on the other. The result is that, as per the Delhi HC, Indian courts now ought to stay proceedings before them if the same cause of action has already been litigated before foreign courts.

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New rules for extra-territorial jurisdiction in Western Australia

The rules regarding service outside the jurisdiction are about to change for the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

In a March notice to practitioners, the Chief Justice informed the profession that the Supreme Court Amendment Rules 2024 (WA) (Amendment Rules) were published on the WA legislation website on 26 March 2024.

The Amendment Rules amend the Rules of the Supreme Court 1971 (WA) (RSC). The primary change is the replacement of the current RSC Order 10 (Service outside the jurisdiction) while amending other relevant rules, including some within Order 11 (Service of foreign process) and Order 11A (Service under the Hague Convention).

The combined effect of the changes is to align the Court’s approach to that which has been applicable in the other State Supreme Courts for some years.

The changes will take effect on 9 April 2024. Read more

International tech litigation reaches the next level: collective actions against TikTok and Google

Written by Xandra Kramer (Erasmus University Rotterdam/Utrecht University) & Eduardo Silva de Freitas (Erasmus University Rotterdam), members of the Vici project Affordable Access to Justice, financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO),


We have reported on the Dutch WAMCA procedure for collective actions in a number of previous blogposts. This collective action procedure was introduced on 1 January 2020, enabling claims for damages, and has since resulted in a stream of (interim) judgments addressing different aspects in the preliminary stages of the procedure. This includes questions on the admissibility and funding requirements, some of which are also of importance as examples for the rolling out of the Representative Action Directive for consumers in other Member States. It also poses very interesting questions of private international law, as in particular the collective actions for damages against tech giants are usually international cases. We refer in particular to earlier blogposts on international jurisdiction in the privacy case against TikTok and the referral to the CJEU regarding international jurisdiction under the Brussels I-bis Regulation in the competition case against Apple.

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Turning Point: China First Recognizes Japanese Bankruptcy Decision

This post is written by Guodong Du and Meng Yu and published at China Justice Observer. It is reproduced here by kind permission of the authors. 


Key takeaways:

  • In September 2023, the Shanghai Third Intermediate People’s Court ruled to recognize the Tokyo District Court’s decision to commence civil rehabilitation proceedings and the order appointing the supervisor ((2021) Hu 03 Xie Wai Ren No.1).
  • This marks not only the first time that China has recognized a Japanese court’s decision in a bankruptcy procedure, but also the first time that China has recognized a Japanese judgment.
  • The case establishes a legal precedent for cross-border bankruptcy decisions, demonstrating that prior non-recognition patterns between China and Japan in civil and commercial judgments may not apply in such cross-border scenarios.
  • While not resolving the broader recognition challenges between the two nations, this acknowledgment sends a positive signal from the Chinese court, hinting at potential future breakthroughs and fostering hope for improved legal cooperation.

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Disentangling Legal Knots: Intersection of Foreign Law and English Law in Overseas Marriages

Written by Muhammad Zubair Abbasi, Lecturer at School of Law, Oxford Brookes University (



In a recent judgment Tousi v Gaydukova [2024] EWCA Civ 203, the Court of Appeal dealt with the issue of the relevance of foreign law to the remedy available under English law in respect of an overseas ceremony of marriage. Earlier the High Court had held that the foreign law determines not only the validity or invalidity of the ceremony of marriage but also the ramifications of the validity or invalidity of the ceremony. The Court of Appeal disagreed and reiterated the rule that lex loci celebrationis is limited to the determination of the validity or invalidity of the ceremony of marriage. Therefore, English law will apply to provide a remedy or relief upon the breakdown of the relationship of the parties to a marriage ceremony that took place abroad.

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Egyptian Supreme Court on the Enforcement of Foreign Judgments – Special Focus on the Service Requirement

I . Introduction

Egypt and its legal system occupy a unique position within the MENA region. Egyptian law and scholarship exert a significant influence on many countries in the region. Scholars, lawyers, and judges from Egypt are actively involved in teaching and practicing law in many countries in the region, particularly in the Gulf States. Consequently, it is no exaggeration to say that developments in Egyptian law are likely to have a profound impact on neighboring countries and beyond, and warrant special attention. Read more

International Jurisdiction between Nationality and Domicile in Tunisian Private International Law – Has the Perennial Debate Finally been Resolved?

I would like to thank Prof. Lotfi Chedly for providing me with the text of the decision on which this post is based.


I. Introduction

Scholars of private international law are well familiar with the classic debate on nationality and domicile as connecting factors in the choice of applicable law (see, for example, L. I. de Winter, “Nationality or Domicile? The Present State of Affairs” 128 Collected Courses III (1969) pp. 357 ff). In Tunisian private international law, this controversy has been particularly pronounced with regard to the role of nationality as a ground for the international jurisdiction of Tunisian courts. Since the enactment of the Tunisian Private International Law Code (“PILC”) in 1998 (for an English translation, see J. Basedow et al. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Private International Law – Vol. IV (Elgar Editions, 2017) 3895 and my own translation of the provisions dealing with international jurisdiction and the enforcement of foreign judgments in 8 Journal of Private International Law 2 (2012) pp. 221 ff)), the debate between opponents and proponents of nationality as a ground for international jurisdiction, especially in family law matters, has never ceased to be intense (for detailed analyses, see eg. Salma Triki, “La compétence internationale tunisienne et le critère de nationalité” in Ben Achour/Triki (eds.), Le Code de droit international privé – Vingt ans d’application (1998-2018) (Latrach edition, 2020) 119ff). This divergence in academic opinion is also reflected in the judicial practice of the courts, with the emergence of two opposing trends: one extends the international jurisdiction of the Tunisian courts when the dispute involves a Tunisian party, in particular as a defendant even when domiciled abroad. The other firmly rejects nationality as a ground for international jurisdiction.

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An Answer to the Billion-Dollar Choice-of-Law Question

On February 20, 2024, the New York Court of Appeals handed down its opinion in Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. v. MUFG Union Bank, N.A. The issue presented—which I described in a previous post as the billion-dollar choice-of-law question—was whether a court sitting in New York should apply the law of New York or the law of Venezuela to determine the validity of certain bonds issued by a state-owned oil company in Venezuela. The bondholders, represented by MUFG Union Bank, argued for New York law. The oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (“PDVSA”), argued for Venezuelan law.

In a victory for PDVSA, the New York Court of Appeals unanimously held that the validity of the bonds was governed by the law of Venezuela. It then sent the case back to the federal courts to determine whether the bonds are, in fact, invalid under Venezuelan law.
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