February 21, 2018

Arbitration - Sberbank of Russia v Ramljak

Judge construes an undertaking by the parties to stay arbitration

The parties agreed a consent order which contained an undertaking that they would stay an LCIA arbitration "pending final determination" of a separate application to the courts. The issue in this case was whether there had been a "final determination" where the application had been determined but there is still an outstanding application for permission to appeal. The judge noted that this issue is context-specific and involves interpreting the undertaking which, as well as being an order of the court, is also a contract between the parties. Applying the principles of contractual interpretation, he concluded that "the word "final" in the phrase "final determination" must refer to a point in time when that determination can no longer be changed. In my judgment, it must therefore be referring either to the end of the possibility of any appeal or, if sooner, to a point at which the losing party at first instance acknowledges that there will be no appeal or no further appeal". Accordingly, the undertaking here had not yet come to an end.