English Court Provides New Guidance On Summary Dismissal Process For Groundless Serious Irregularity Challenges

Herbert Smith Freehills provides a comprehensive summary of the 2018 decision in Midnight Marine Ltd v Thomas Miller Speciality Underwriting Agency Ltd [2018] EWHC 3431 (Comm), where the English High Court proposed a procedurally strict approach to serious irregularity challenges under s.68 of the English Act in circumstance where these have already been dismissed on paper.

The authors note that the decision takes a tougher line than the earlier Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria v Qatar National Bank decision, where the judge expounded the benefits of an oral hearing at which parties’ positions can be advanced and tested in a way not always readily achieveable on paper, suggesting that the oral hearing referred to in the summary dismissal process should be a very short hearing, directed only at the question of whether the application has a real prospect of success.

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About Phillip Rompotis

Phillip practices as a barrister and arbitrator in Hong Kong. He has over 25 years’ litigation and arbitration experience in commercial disputes relating to construction & engineering, financial services, joint venture & shareholders agreements, technology, trusts, property and landlord & tenant. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators, the Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators, and a member of various lists/panels of arbitrators.

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