*Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd and another v Independent Power Tanzania Ltd and others

Conflict of laws – Jurisdiction. The claimants brought a claim against the defendants for sums due under a facility agreement and related agreements. The agreements contained non-exclusive English jurisdiction clauses with forum non conveniens (FNC) waivers, whereby the parties waived any objection they might have to the venue of any proceedings. The defendants applied for a stay of the proceedings on the ground that England was not the most appropriate forum. The issue was whether an FNC waiver in the agreements precluded an application for a stay on forum non conveniens grounds. The Commercial Court, in dismissing the applications, held that, a court could grant a stay, even where there was an forum non conveniens waiver with a non-exclusive jurisdiction clause, if very strong or exceptional grounds for granting a stay were demonstrated, provided that those grounds had been unforeseeable at the time the agreement had been made. However, there were no exceptional reasons for granting a stay on FNC grounds in the present case and there had been no abuse of process.

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