Keep Calm and Play Nicely

Commercial disputes are often – indeed, normally – fraught affairs, with the parties on both sides more interested in tearing out each other’s throats than sitting down for a nice cup of tea. Historically, the judiciary has actively or passively condoned that confrontational behaviour. But a recent English Queen’s Bench Division ruling is being hailed as a potential turning point, with litigants in the future increasingly likely to be obliged at least to try to play nicely with each other. Edinburgh-based law firm Shepherd & Wedderburn analyse Emirates Trading Agency Ltd v Prime Mineral Exports Private Ltd [2014] EWHC 2014 (Comm), which they reckons represents ‘a significant departure from the traditional English position’ in that it holds enforceable a contractual obligation on disputing parties to enter into ‘friendly discussions’ before commencing arbitration. Click here for more information.

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