English court decision on dispute with Russia over $3 bln is outstanding victory for Ukraine
The English Court of Appeal on Friday, September 14, gave its long awaited judgment in Ukraine's appeal against the Summary Judgment entered in Russia's favor in March 2017 by Mr. Justice Blair in the case concerning the so called Russian debt, the Finance Ministry of Ukraine has reported.
"The decision to reverse Summary Judgment and permit Ukraine to argue its case before the court of first instance represents a significant victory for Ukraine," the ministry said in a press release on Friday.
The ministry said that the appeal justices hearing the appeal, and who have now released their unanimous verdict, are Lady Justice Gloster (then Vice President of the Court of Appeal, Civil Division), Lord Justice Sales and Lord Justice David Richards.
The Court of Appeal has issued a fully reasoned written judgment which is publicly available, the ministry said.
According to the press release, in a unanimous decision in favor of Ukraine all three Judges of the English Court of Appeal agreed that the first instance judge was wrong: to decline to permit Ukraine's defence of duress to proceed to trial; and to refuse to grant Ukraine a permanent stay of the proceedings if Ukraine's defence of duress could not be adjudicated by the English Court.
"The Court of Appeal has ruled unanimously that Ukraine's case should go to a full public trial before the English Court. Ukraine argues that the alleged contracts for the Russian bonds are void and unenforceable because of Russia's wanton threats and acts of political and military aggression towards Ukraine," the ministry said.
The Court of Appeal upheld the Summary Judgment of Mr. Justice Blair in respect of Ukraine's defences based on capacity, authority, implied terms and countermeasures, and also agreed with the first instance Judge that there are no other compelling reasons for the case to go to trial.
Acting Finance Minister of Ukraine Oksana Markarova said in a press release that Ukraine continues insisting that that the contracts for the $3 billion eurobonds are invalid and unenforceable. This is because of the egregious threats and acts of aggression perpetrated against Ukraine by Russia not only in the lead up to and which procured the entry of the relevant contracts, but also in the period after their entry and continuing until the present day.
"Russia must be held accountable for its internationally wrongful acts and the English Court has made clear that it will not shy away from doing so," she said.
The ministry said that Ukraine is represented in the court by lead counsel Alex Gerbi of international litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, UK LLP, English barristers Bankim Thanki QC, Ben Jaffey QC and Simon Atrill, and partner Svitlana Chepurna of Ukrainian law firm Asters.