RTI Ltd v MUR Shipping BV: a party required to use reasonable endeavours to mitigate a force majeure need not accept non-contractual performance

By Helen Ryan, Trainee Solicitor, Duane Morris LLP 

On 15 May 2024, the Supreme Court handed down judgment in RTI Ltd v MUR Shipping BV [2024] UKSC 18.

The appeal centred around the issue of whether a force majeure clause which required the affected party to exercise ‘reasonable endeavors’ to overcome the effects of the relevant event or state of affairs meant that the other contracting party had to accept an offer of non-contractual performance.

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English court stays its own proceedings in favour of arbitration

Seven companies have a claim against their former director for breach of fiduciary duties. Three of those companies have an arbitration agreement.

All seven companies bring a claim in the English court against the former director who applies to have the court proceedings stayed in favour of arbitration.

The three claimants with an arbitration agreement concede that they must sue in arbitration, and the question then becomes whether the court claims by the other claimants should be stayed in favour of the arbitration or not.

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Duane Morris Submits Evidence to the House of Lords Special Public Bill Committee on the Bill to Amend the Arbitration Act 1996

On 6 February 2024, Partner, Mark Handley and Associate, Paul-Raphael Shehadeh of the London office submitted written evidence to the House of Lords on the proposed reforms to the Arbitration Act.

The evidence has now been published and is available (here).

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Jurisdiction in International Arbitration

International arbitration is, by its very nature, multi-jurisdictional. The international element could come from the parties being located in different jurisdictions, or perhaps having elected to refer disputes to a forum connected to a jurisdiction common to one, all or none of them. There are many factors that play into this decision. For example, one party may want ‘home court’ advantage, or be concerned as to the limit of remedies available in the jurisdiction where the underlying work is taking place. Another party may be more familiar with dispute resolution within a specific jurisdiction, or have easier access to resources if a dispute is determined in a certain place. The overlay to this is the governing law agreed between the parties – it is not unusual for an arbitration tribunal in one jurisdiction to determine a claim governed by the laws of another jurisdiction. The governing law and jurisdiction can be entirely unrelated to the location of the subject matter of the contract.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorney Chris Recker, please visit the Duane Morris International Arbitration Blog.

Jurisdictional challenges and arbitration clauses – that old chestnut! – The UK perspective

By Oliver Kent

Picture this. You are a Director at a substantial widget manufacturing company. One of your key materials suppliers, with whom you’ve had a relationship for many years, is causing you grief. There have been a number of complaints from customers in recent times about a decline in widget quality, which appear to be the fault of your supplier. However, you’re behind on your payments to the supplier and they are starting to threaten supply, with disastrous effects for the company. A dispute is brewing.

You have been involved with litigation before and have experience of court proceedings. However, when you check with your legal team about next steps, you learn that your agreement with the supplier contains a clause which appears to indicate that all disputes must be referred to arbitration. The clause is perhaps not drafted with the certainty it should and could have been, and it is not clear the extent to which it is enforceable. The issue usually is framed on the basis of whether there is a valid and enforceable agreement to refer disputes to arbitration.

There are also commercial considerations that may be relevant. Is it preferable to litigate in the domestic courts or arbitrate? This may be a commercial call, just as much as a legal one. This blog shares some of the practical considerations around these issues.
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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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