PIA Plane Seized: Is the Malaysian Court overstepping its jurisdiction?

Lahore, 17th January: PIA authorities are making last-minute efforts by contacting high profile lawyers and engaging reputable law firms to control the collateral damage.

Baaghi TV: According to reports, a hearing regarding the PIA plane impounded by the Malaysian authorities is to be held in the Kuala Lumpur court on Monday morning.

Sources close to Baaghi TV have informed that the high-profile Pakistani lawyer, who is very well-known in the Malaysian circles was approached by PIA.

As per sources, the lawyer was reluctant to take up the case in the first place due to miss-commitments of the Pakistan High Commission.

However, he has been requested to take up the case or present himself as a support in the Malaysian court.

The case was discussed by many in the legal fraternity in Malaysia hence Baaghi TV got wind of the actual matter.

Regarding the case of confiscation of the PIA Plane in Malaysia on Friday, the law firms are looking into the matter with the angle that both parties to the business contract do not belong to Malaysia and the Malaysian court is acting beyond the jurisdiction by deciding the case.

According to reports of Baaghi TV, if Plaintiff (Peregrine) is a Dubai or Singapore based party and Defendant (PIA) is a Pakistan entity with assets on the ground in Malaysia, then, prima facie, Malaysian courts don’t have jurisdiction, depending of course on the choice of law and seat of adjudication i.e. jurisdiction clauses in the contract between PIA and Peregrine.

Sources have noted from a quick perusal of the order that the Malaysian court has relied on its INHERENT jurisdiction due to the presence of physical property (aircraft) being present on Malaysian soil.

But the question then arises: Can a Malaysian court issue relief (injunctive relief or stay order) in a contractual dispute where neither of the parties is Malaysian nor is the choice of law governing the contract Malaysia law?

If the answer is in the negative, meaning that a Malaysian court does not have jurisdiction to examine the merits of the case, then how can it issue an order providing relief to one of the parties?

As per our reliable sources, essentially the court is looking at the merits without having authority to do so. That said, there may be provisions under Malaysian domestic law that give its courts jurisdiction to issue preliminary relief (based on a prima facie case rather than its merits) in instances where property or persons are present on its soil.

It is quite surprising the harshness of the order and its apparent overreach. It is also a matter of invoking parallel jurisdiction which is against judicial norms and the concealment of facts by the party not mentioning the arbitration already underway in UK courts under UK laws governing the agreement and agreed by both the parties.

This might be contested as judicial overreach or lack of jurisdiction or concealment of facts by another party.

So PIA and its lawyers are very confident that the decision by the Malaysian Court is in haste and lopsided and they feel they will get justice in a review.

The lawyers are drawing up this strong defence for the plane case and feel this is the only course of action left to them and the airline has sought an opinion in this regard from more than two law firms.

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  1. […] PIA Plane Seized: Is the Malaysian Court overstepping its jurisdiction? […]

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