This is an application by the Claimant ('RSM') to continue an anti-suit injunction granted by HHJ Pelling KC at a hearing without notice on 4 October 2023 ('the ASI').
The basis on which the ASI was sought and granted was, in brief, as follows.
(1) RSM is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company. The Defendant ('GdC') is RSM's contractual partner and the operator, under a series of agreements, in the development of the Logbaba hydrocarbons block in Cameroon.
(2) RSM sought the injunction to restrain GdC from continuing legal proceedings in Cameroon by which GdC had already provisionally attached about US$ 18 million of RSM's funds in a without notice procedure. RSM also believed that GdC would seek further relief in Cameroon by way of a without notice application to the Cameroonian court for payment of that money to GdC.
(3) RSM's contention was that those Cameroonian proceedings were brought in breach of an arbitration agreement contained in a Settlement Agreement dated 27 September 2021 (the 'SA') between RSM, GdC, and GdC's parent Victoria Oil & Gas plc ('VOG').
The ASI was varied by a consent order of Jacobs J made on 17 October 2023, to preserve the parties' respective positions in the Cameroonian proceedings pending the return date.
The return date hearing was held before me on 2 November 2023. GdC resisted the continuation of the ASI on four grounds, which may be summarised as follows:
(1) That the dispute RSM seeks to enjoin is not a dispute governed by an English-seated arbitration agreement, or at least RSM cannot show a high degree of probability that it is;
(2) There has been no breach of any arbitration agreement because GdC had merely sought and obtained interim relief in Cameroon in support of anticipated arbitration proceedings, and that it is established that seeking such interim relief does not breach an agreement to arbitrate;
(3) The English Court has no jurisdiction over GdC;
(4) There was a failure to make a fair presentation at the without notice hearing.