Debevoise Advises NLMK in High Court Success

3 August 2017

The London office of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has represented longstanding client NLMK, a global steel producer, in its successful defence in the English High Court against an application to enforce a Russian arbitral award that had been set aside by the Russian courts.

The dispute arose following an ICAC arbitral award obtained against NLMK following an arbitration in Russia in 2011. The value represented the balance of the purchase price allegedly owed to the claimant, Mr. Maximov, following the sale of a number of his businesses to NLMK. The initial award was subsequently set aside by the Russian courts. The claimant nonetheless sought to enforce the Award in England and elsewhere.

The High Court judgment (Nikolay Viktorovich Maximov v Open Joint Stock Company “Novolipsetsky Metallurgichesky Kombinat”) followed a two week trial. The claimant maintained that the decisions of the Russian courts were perverse, and invited the court to infer that those decisions were therefore procured by bias and should not be recognised by the English Court. The English High Court dismissed the application, holding that it was not enough to show that the Russian courts’ decision was manifestly wrong or even perverse; the court would have to have been able to infer that the Russian courts were actually biased against the claimant, which (in the absence of other evidence of bias) required the decision to have been be so extreme and incorrect that no court acting in good faith could have arrived at it otherwise than by bias.

The court held that on the facts of the case, the claimant had failed to discharge this heavy burden.

The Debevoise team advising NLMK was led by London partner Kevin Lloyd and international counsel Christopher Boyne, and included associates Liam Spender and Boxun Yin.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a premier law firm with market-leading practices, a global perspective and strong New York roots. We deliver effective solutions to our clients’ most important legal challenges, applying clear commercial judgment and a distinctively collaborative approach.