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Johnson Winter & Slattery is acting for Lighthouse Corporation in proceedings against the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the Electricity Department of Timor-Leste (together, Timor-Leste) for alleged breaches and unlawful repudiation of fuel supply contracts entered into in October and November 2010. Lighthouse Corporation is seeking damages of approximately US$328 million, plus interest and costs in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Justice Peter Almond has dismissed an application brought by Timor-Leste seeking the dismissal or permanent stay of the proceedings on the asserted grounds that:
His Honour found, firstly, that the subject matter of the dispute was a commercial transaction which did not attract the act of State doctrine. Justice Almond also rejected the contention that the Supreme Court of Victoria was a clearly inappropriate forum for the dispute given it had “significant connecting factors to Victoria”, including that fact that the contract stated that it was to be governed by the laws of Victoria.
Justice Almond said “[for] present purposes, the disputed questions as to whether the contract has been made and whether it includes the term that the contract is to be governed by the law of Victoria are matter for the law of the forum. In my view, this is a major impediment to the defendants’ argument that the current forum is ‘clearly inappropriate’”.
Subject to any appeal, the proceedings will now continue in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
 Lighthouse Corporation Limited & Anor v Republica Democratica de Timor Leste & Anor  VSC 278 (2 May 2019) at 
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Johnson Winter & Slattery is a leading independent national Australian law firm. We advise major Australian and international corporations and investment funds on their most challenging transactions and disputes across Australia and surrounding regions. Our unique approach to resourcing means we can deliver more value to clients on their most complex legal issues with higher partner involvement from the start. A partnership ethos of service, technical excellence and collaboration ensures the most relevant specialist expertise and experience is brought to bear on every assignment.
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