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WWRT Limited v Carosan Trading Limited a Boris Kaufman

Civil Fraud & Asset Recovery, Commercial Litigation, International & Offshore, Judgments

13 July 2022

Richard Morgan QC and Rowena Page, with Richard Brown of Carey Olsen, acted for Boris Kaufman successfully resisting the appeals and an application to adduce fresh evidence made by WWRT Limited.  The case concerned an alleged assignment to WWRT Limited of the right to bring Ukrainian law claims in tort against Mr Kaufman in support of which WWRT Limited had obtained a worldwide freezing order and permission to serve Mr Kaufman in Ukraine.

At first instance (Richard Morgan QC leading Richard Brown and Amanda Hadkiss) the Court had set aside the worldwide freezing order and permission to serve in Ukraine on the basis that there was no serious issue to be tried that WWRT Limited had taken a valid assignment of the claimed causes of action and Ukraine was plainly the appropriate and convenient forum for the trial of any action if WWRT Limited had had any claim.

On the appeal WWRT Limited sought to amend their grounds of appeal and adduce fresh evidence to allege that Ukraine was no longer an available forum for any trial, sought the re-imposition of the freezing order over Mr Kaufman’s assets in the meantime and argued that the judge below was wrong (i) to determine the true meaning and effect of an assignment governed by Ukrainian law and written in Ukrainian and (ii) to identify Ukraine as the appropriate forum.

The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal refused at the outset to re-impose any freezing order over Mr Kaufman’s assets pending judgment and they refused to admit fresh evidence that Ukraine was no longer an available forum because of the Russian invasion and ongoing war.

On the main appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the judge had been entitled to decide that there had been no valid assignment of any tort claims to WWRT Limited and moreover that there was no basis upon which WWRT Limited could challenge the evaluative exercise of the judge as identifying Ukraine as the appropriate and convenient forum.

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