30th Nov 2021
Thomas Roe QC (instructed by Gresham Legal) for the Defendant
This is an application by the Defendant that the Court stay the proceedings brought against him by the Claimant on the grounds that Thailand is the forum which is clearly and distinctly the more appropriate forum for the trial of this action. The Defendant is out of time for bringing such an application and therefore seeks an extension of time in which to do so. The Claimant opposes the applications. In particular the Claimant says that the Defendant has long ago submitted to the jurisdiction of the court and in such circumstances the requested extension of time should be refused.
The procedural history of the Claimant’s claim is long and detailed and the claim has already occupied the attention of several judges of this Court and of the Court of Appeal. I do not propose to summarise the whole procedural history but merely those steps in the action which are of particular relevance to the Defendant’s applications.
The Claimant is a Thai company in which the Defendant is a substantial shareholder. The Claimant alleges that the Defendant caused the Claimant to enter into two loans with a Thai businessman under which the Claimant borrowed £4.4 million and became liable to repay some £5.8 million. The Claimant alleges that the Defendant purported to enter into the loans on the Claimant’s behalf without the knowledge of other officers of the Claimant and by the use of forged documents. It is alleged that the greater part of the proceeds of the loans were not paid for the benefit of the Claimant but for the benefit of the Defendant and members of his family.
The claim was issued on 9 May 2016 against the Defendant and several other Defendants, originally 7 other Defendants. On the same day a Worldwide Freezing order was granted. There was an application by the Defendant and two other Defendants to set aside the order giving permission to serve the proceedings out of the jurisdiction and an application by all Defendants to set aside the WFO. Those applications were dismissed by David Foxton QC on 15 June 2016 (save that the WFO against the 8th Defendant was set aside); see  EWHC 1416 (Comm).
On 20 February 2018 the Claimant served Amended Particulars of Claim and on 19 April 2018 the Defendant served his Defence. That amounted to a submission to the jurisdiction in the sense that the Defendant was content for the court to exercise the jurisdiction it had to determine the claim brought by the Claimant against him.