Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Peter Stone and Youseph Farah
Chapter 4: Frustrated at the interface between court litigation and arbitration? Don’t blame it on Brussels I! Finding reason in the decision of West Tankers, and the recast Brussels I
The West Tankers decision was criticised for having a regressive impact on the system of international commercial arbitration. Many had hoped that the European Court would deliver a decision which would be informed by pragmatism, and one which would prevent numerous court and tribunal related parallel proceedings occurring across a number of jurisdictions within the EU. Instead, the European Court delivered a principled judgment declaring an anti-suit injunction prohibiting a party from continuing proceedings before a court of a Member State to be contrary to EU law. This chapter is significant because it introduces a complete account of the normative framework that regulates the interface between court litigation and arbitration. It identifies the approach under the system of the Brussels I Regulation, including the recent amendments brought by the revised version of Brussels I. The main finding of this chapter is that the reasoning of the European Court in West Tankers was consistent with EU jurisprudence and the core values of Brussels I. In particular it shows that the critiques of West Tankers often ignore important values that are fundamental to the system of Brussels I and EU constitutional values. It is submitted that West Tankers has essentially magnified the diversity and cultural distinction among Member States in their approach to parallel proceedings between a court and arbitration.
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