Case details

Betamax Ltd (Appellant) v State Trading Corporation (Respondent) (Mauritius)

Case ID: JCPC 2019/0109

Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of Mauritius

Case summary

Issue

(1) In the context of an application to set aside an arbitral award in favour of the appellant for the respondent's breach of contract, was the Supreme Court entitled to decide whether the contract been entered into in breach of public procurement rules? If yes, was the contract subject to public procurement rules and awarded illegally in breach of those rules?

(2) Did the alleged breach of public procurement rules justify setting aside the arbitral award as contrary to the public policy of Mauritius?

Facts

The respondent, State Trading Corporation (STC) is a public corporate body and trading arm of the Government of Mauritius responsible for the importation of essential commodities. In 2009, it entered into a contract with the appellant, Betamax, for the transport of petroleum products to Mauritius (the Contract). The Contract provided for arbitration under the rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. In 2015, following a general election and change of government, the Cabinet issued a decision to terminate the operation of the Contract on the basis that it had been entered into in breach of the Mauritian Public Procurement Act 2006 (the PPA), which entered into force in 2008. Following the Cabinet decision, STC informed Betamax that it would no longer procure services from it. Betamax subsequently initiated arbitration proceedings against STC. In 2017, the appointed arbitrator decided in favour of Betamax and awarded damages for STC’s failure to perform its obligations under the Contract. In 2019, the Supreme Court set aside the arbitral award on the grounds that the Contact was entered into in breach of the PPA, was illegal and unenforceable and therefore the arbitral award was contrary to the public policy of Mauritius under the Mauritian International Arbitration Act 2008. Betamax now appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

Parties

Appellant(s)

Betamax Ltd

Respondent(s)

State Trading Corporation

Appeal

Justices

Lord Hodge, Lady Arden, Lord Leggatt, Lord Burrows, Lord Thomas

Hearing start date

20 Jan 2021

Hearing finish date

21 Jan 2021

Watch hearing
20 Jan 2021 Morning session Afternoon session
21 Jan 2021 Morning session