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Press Statement Re Eurobonds Appeal To The United Kingdom Supreme Court

Ukraine intervenes in an appeal before the United Kingdom Supreme Court concerning the English law of duress.

On 15 June 2020, the United Kingdom Supreme Court informed Ukraine and Russia that it would hear an appeal in another case — Pakistan International Airline Corporation v Times Travel (UK) Ltd (Times Travel) — before proceeding to give its Judgment in the case concerning the $3 billion Eurobonds purportedly issued by Ukraine in December 2013. The Times Travel appeal concerns the existence and scope of the English law doctrine of ‘lawful act’ duress.

The Supreme Court made its decision to postpone giving its Judgment in the so-called Russian bonds case because Ukraine raises a defence of duress as one of its defences to Russia’s claims. Therefore, the Supreme Court considers that its decision in the Times Travel case, which will clarify certain aspects of the law of duress, may have some bearing on how it comes to determine the appeal in the Russian bonds case.

Both Ukraine and Russia (through its Trustee) sought and were given permission by the Supreme Court to participate in the Times Travel appeal as interveners. The hearing before the Supreme Court in that appeal took place yesterday and today, with both Ukraine and the Trustee putting brief written and oral submissions before the Court.

Ukraine’s legal team conveyed Ukraine’s strong legal arguments and presented its legal position to the eminent tribunal of five Supreme Court Justices, four of whom had also heard the appeal in the Russian bonds case in December last year.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judges reserved their Judgment until a later date which is unlikely to be before the end of the year.

It remains to be seen how the Supreme Court decides to proceed with the determination of the appeal in the Russian bonds case. In particular, whether the parties will make further written and / or oral submissions to the Court in respect of the Judgment in the Times Travel case, once available, and its relevance or otherwise for the Russian bonds case before the Supreme Court proceeds to give its Judgment. Due to the interposition of the Times Travel appeal, however, it seems most likely that the Supreme Court’s Judgment in the Russian bonds case will not be given until sometime in 2021.

Ukraine puts its faith in the English legal process and remains confident of achieving a positive outcome in the proceedings, which are brought at Russia’s behest in pursuit of a broader strategy of unlawful and illegitimate aggression by Russia against Ukraine. Ukraine reaffirms its commitment to standing firm in the face of this aspect of Russia’s aggression.