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The courts of England and Wales are known for their non-interventionist approach to arbitration proceedings.

Section 1(c) of the Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996) gives this non-interventionist approach statutory force, and provides that the ‘court should not intervene except as provided by the [AA 1996]’. The English courts adopt a supportive approach to arbitrations including by ‘holding the ring’ until the tribunal is constituted or is able to act affectively. AA 1996, s 44 is the most common route under which interim relief in the form of interim injunctions or preservation of evidence/assets is sought from the English courts in support of arbitration. In addition, the Commercial Court granted recently an interim anti-suit injunction against a defendant in respect of foreign proceedings on a without notice basis to ‘hold the ring’.

The court did so in circumstances where the defendant party was unwell with coronavirus (COVID-19) and the on-notice merits hearing of the anti-suit application had to be adjourned. The case is another example of supportive jurisdiction of the English courts in relation to arbitrations.

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This article was first published by Lexis®PSL on 28 May 2021.

Authored by Srishti Jain, Associate.