UK court decides aircraft disputes to be heard in Ukraine, not London

By Thomson Reuters Jun 6, 2024 | 9:53 AM

LONDON (Reuters) – A legal battle between insurers and aircraft leasing companies over jets stuck in Ukraine should be heard in Ukraine rather than London, the High Court in London ruled on Thursday.

Aircraft lessors, including Ireland’s AerCap, are pursuing insurers after Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine left aircraft stranded in Ukraine.

Judge Andrew Henshaw, in a decision relating to six separate lawsuits, ruled that the cases in London should be put on hold because of “exclusive jurisdiction clauses” requiring disputes to be heard in Ukraine.

The claimants had argued that the cases should be heard in London, in part because the ongoing war in Ukraine makes it very difficult to fairly conduct litigation there.

Henshaw, however, said in his ruling that “the evidence about the effect of the war on the court system … does not indicate that the war is likely to result in substantial delays or other problems in litigating these claims effectively in the courts of Ukraine”.

In March, the High Court ruled that a separate $10 billion battle over more than 200 jets stuck in Russia should be heard in London rather than Moscow.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin, editing by William James)