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Conflict of laws: exclusive jurisdiction and anti-suit injunctions

Insurance Law Monthly

Conflict of laws: exclusive jurisdiction and anti-suit injunctions

In AIG Europe SA and Others v John Wood Group plc and Another [2021] EWHC 2567 (Comm) insurers sought anti-suit injunctions against policyholders who had commenced judicial proceedings in Alberta allegedly in breach of jurisdiction and arbitration provisions in the various policies that constituted the policyholders’ “insurance tower”. The case turns on established principles, but the matter was complicated by the existence of inconsistent provisions in the contracts.

The claimants were participants in an excess liability insurance programme placed in London. The defendants, who were insured under the policies, were contractors whose predecessors in title (Sunstone Projects Ltd) carried out for Nexen Energy ULC engineering, procurement, design and construction supervision work for a pipeline system in Alberta. The pipeline failed, resulting in the leak of 5,000 m of bitumen into the environment. Nexen commenced proceedings against Sunstone in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta, alleging negligence.

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