Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant JSC v. AES Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant LLP

Trinity Term [2013] UKSC 35 (2013)

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Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant JSC v. AES Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant LLP

United Kingdom Supreme Court
Trinity Term [2013] UKSC 35 (2013)

Facts

Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant JSC (JSC) (defendant) and AES Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant LLP (AESUK) (plaintiff) were parties to a concession agreement for the operation of a hydroelectric power plant in Kazakhstan. The agreement was governed by Kazakh law and included an arbitration clause that required disputes related to the agreement be arbitrated in London, England, under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The Republic of Kazakhstan, JSC’s predecessor, received a judgment from the Kazakh Supreme Court that the arbitration agreement was invalid. AESUK then initiated proceedings in England. AESUK did not want to initiate arbitration proceedings, but merely sought a ruling that JSC could not bring claims falling under the arbitration agreement against AESUK in court. The lower court held that any claims related to the concession agreement, including the action in Kazakhstan, could only be resolved by arbitration at the ICC in London under ICC rules. The lower court also issued an injunction barring JSC from bringing claims elsewhere. JSC appealed. JSC argued in part that the passage of the Arbitration Act 1996 made it impermissible for an English court to hold that foreign proceedings violate an arbitration agreement if arbitration is neither ongoing nor imminent.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mance, J.)

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