On February 21 2014, His Honour Deemster Doyle, First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls, delivered his judgment in Hirco v Hiranandani, in which the issue was whether in all the circumstances the Isle of Man was the appropriate forum for the trial of the dispute. Deemster Doyle identified that his principal task was to resolve the place that would be in the best interests of all parties involved, and where justice would be delivered. This, of course, mirrors the overriding objective under Rule 1.2 of the Rules of the High Court 2009, the principle on which the so called “new litigation” culture in the Isle of Man Courts is based, that is to deal with cases justly and efficiently.
Potentially competing jurisdictional agreements existed, between the relevant parties, dealing with their inter-relationships. The first claimant Hirco plc (“Plc”) was incorporated in the Isle of and subsequently listed on AIM. The second claimant Hirco Holdings Limited (“Holdings”) was a company registered in Mauritius and a wholly owned subsidiary of Plc. The Defendants were Niranjan Hiranandani (who was the chairman and non-executive director of Plc between December 2006 and December 2010) and who resides in India, and Priya Hiranandani-Vandrevala (director and chief executive of Plc between December 2006 and December 2010) and who resides in London.
The expressed purpose of the floatation of Plc on AIM was to raise funds for Plc’s proposed investment into Indian real estate development. The flotation of Plc was promoted using an AIM Admission Prospectus which included five pipeline projects, of which Plc and Holdings eventually invested in four. Holdings did not itself have the funds necessary to make these investments and so Plc advanced funds to Holdings under documented loan agreements.
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