Olsen v. The Bank of Nova Scotia

In Admiralty Practice, Injunctions on (Updated )

This was an application for an injunction restraining payment under a letter of credit. The letter of credit had been issued to obtain the release of a vessel from arrest and to secure claims that were the subject of arbitration. The arbitrations were decided in favour of the defendant ship builders and applications to review the arbitration awards were later dismissed. In this action the plaintiff alleged that the letter of credit was obtained by fraud. The plaintiff was not a party to the ship building contract but was to be the ultimate purchaser and had supplied the letter of credit as well as the funds to finance the construction. The Court dismissed the application holding that the plaintiff had failed to make out a strong prima facie case of fraud. The Court also disagreed with the plaintiff that an injunction was necessary to preserve the status quo. The Court noted that the defendants had the security of the vessel and agreed to release the vessel in substitution for the security of the letter of credit. The Court said that by seeking to invalidate the letter of credit and not returning the vessel the plaintiff “will have significantly altered the position of” the defendants. The Court was finally concerned that the action was simply a collateral attack on the arbitration awards.