By Dorothy Murray King & Wood Mallesons’ London Office

Smurray_dhareholders to JV agree that “any party may submit the dispute to binding arbitration”. Shareholders then get into a dispute, end up in Court and argue about stay.

The parties were shareholders in a BVI joint venture. The shareholders agreement was governed by English law. A dispute arose regarding Anzen’s allegedly unfairly prejudicial conduct in the management of the JV. Hermes commenced proceedings in the BVI courts. Anzen sought a stay of those proceedings pursuant to Section 6(2) of the BVI’s Arbitration Ordinance, which required the court to stay proceedings if it was satisfied that there was a valid arbitration agreement in respect of the matter in front of it.

Anzen relied on the dispute resolution provision at clause 19.5 of the shareholders agreement: in the event of a dispute “any party may submit the dispute to binding arbitration”.

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