In PJSC Rosgosstrakh v Starr Syndicate Limited & Others  EWHC 1557 (Comm) (17 June 2020), Michael McParland QC and Samar Abbas Kazmi have been successful in resisting the summary enforcement of a set of substantial Russian judgments obtained by a Russian insurance company against 20 reinsurers operating in the London market.
The underlying claim arises out of a coverage dispute relating to the crash in 2012 of a Russian state-owned Sukhoi Superjet-100 aircraft during a demonstration flight in Indonesia. The reinsurers’ case was that the terms of the policy did not cover demonstration flights and were limited to test and certification only. They also argued that coverage could be denied on the grounds of London aviation insurance terms AVN1C and AVN41A which were incorporated into the policy.
In the subsequent Russian proceedings, judgments favourable to the reinsurers by courts in Moscow were set aside whereas judgments favourable to the Russian insurance company by courts in Western Siberia were upheld.
Enforcement in London is being resisted on the grounds that the Siberian courts lacked jurisdiction and that the facts suggest improper influence on and bias in the Russian proceedings.
The Russian insurance company’s summary judgment application was heard over two days and involved the consideration of a wide range of expert evidence on Russian law as well as of the proper approach under English conflicts of laws rules to enforcement applications in instances where jurisdiction is challenged. The judgment given by Moulder J in the Commercial Court ( EWHC 1557 (Comm)) provides useful guidance on the appropriate approach to summary enforcement in such circumstances.
To read the judgment, click here