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The Court of Appeal (Master of the Rolls; Elias LJ; Beatson LJ) has handed down judgment rejecting a challenge under s. 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to an arbitration award under which sums in excess of US$72 million were awarded in respect of a dispute arising out of a Russian real estate project.

The challenge was advanced by Mr Yegiazaryan on the ground that the clause relied on by Mr Smagin to establish the Tribunal’s jurisdiction did not oblige the parties to refer their dispute to arbitration. 

Accepting Mr Smagin’s submissions, the Court rejected Mr Yegiazaryan's ground of challenge as inconsistent with well-established principles on the construction of dispute-resolution clauses exemplified by : Trust Risk Group SpA v AmTrust Europe Ltd  [2015] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 154; Fiona Trust & Holding Corporation v Primalov [2007] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 1053; Monde Petroleum SA v Westernzagros Ltd.  [2015] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 330. In addition, the Court rejected Mr Yegiazaryan’s attempt to introduce a new ground of challenge not pleaded in the arbitration claim form and in respect of which permission to appeal had not been granted by the judge below. In doing, the Court of Appeal gave important guidance reiterating the primary role of the trial judge in relation to arbitration claims: see at [25]-[28] in particular.

Alan Maclean QC and Andrew Scott (instructed by Baker McKenzie) acted for Mr Smagin.