Burness Paull acted for the 2nd and 3rd defendants in the High Court claim: Manek & Ors v IIFL Wealth (UK) Ltd & Ors [2019] EWHC 3361 (Comm).

The claim focussed on the circumstances surrounding the sale of shares in Indian company Hermes i-Tickets Private Ltd (India’s No. 1 Retail Assisted E-Commerce network). The 2nd and 3rd defendants were the founders and (before the sale) majority stakeholders in Hermes.

The minority stakeholders raised proceedings against the 2nd and 3rd defendants in England, along with a further individual and an English company (which was alleged to be an anchor defendant for the purposes of founding jurisdiction in England).

The 2nd and 3rd defendants challenged the jurisdiction of the English Court on the basis that:

  1. There is no real claim between the claimants and the 4th defendant (for the purposes of CPR PD 6B 3.1(3)), but rather that this entity had been added to the claim solely for the purposes of attempting to found jurisdiction in England as against the 2nd and 3rd defendant under this gateway.
  2. No tortious acts were committed in England such that the CPR PD 6B 3.1(9) gateway is of no application.
  3. The claims are ones which the parties had agreed to arbitrate in India.
  4. England is not the most appropriate forum for the trial of this action.

His Honour Judge Mark Pelling QC agreed with 2nd and 3rd defendants that the jurisdictional gateways relied on by the Claimants were not engaged. On that basis he found it unnecessary to then rule on: (i) forum conveniens; (ii) the agreement to arbitrate; and (iii) the Claimants’ alleged failure to give full and frank disclosure when seeking permission to serve out.

The Burness Paull team that acted in the case comprised of Jody CrockettRoddy CairnsHannah Jenkins and Hayley Montgomery.

Burness Paull instructed James Collins QC and Siddharth Dhar of Essex Court.

Jody Crockett, head of English law Dispute Resolution at Burness Paull, commented: “This was a hard-fought matter involving complex and nuanced jurisdictional issues. Our team was delighted to deliver this important result for our clients.”

The full judgment can be accessed here.