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Soleymani (appellant) v Nifty Gateway LLC (respondent)

Wednesday 27th – Thursday 28th July 2022

By Appellant’s Notice filed on 12 April 2022, the Claimant appeals the Order of Clare Ambrose QC dated 24 March 2022 in which she dismissed the Claimant’s Clause 17 claim for lack of jurisdiction; stayed the proceedings pursuant to s9 of the Arbitration Act 1996 and ordered costs.

Background: The Claimant, Mr Soleymani, is an individual resident in Liverpool. He describes himself as an entrepreneur, activist and a philanthropist. He also collects fine art and has collected non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for some time. He has set up a private gallery to display his art collection. The Defendant is a limited liability corporation registered in the State of Delaware with business premises in New York. It operates an online platform via which digital assets can be bought and sold. The assets can be sold via auctions. Users of the platform are also able to purchase assets directly from other users. The Claimant took part in an auction held on the Defendant’s online platform between 30 April 2021 and 2 May 2021 and placed a bid for a blockchain-based NFT associated with an artwork by the artist known as Beeple titled “Abundance”. His claim in these proceedings is for declaratory relief relating to the contractual basis of that participation.
The issue before the Court was whether the English court should decline jurisdiction over the Claimant’s claim or stay the proceedings. The Defendant disputed jurisdiction applied for: a) an order under CPR Part 11 declaring that the Court has no jurisdiction or will not exercise its jurisdiction; or b) an order staying the proceedings under CPR Part 3.1(2)(f) and/or s.9 of the Arbitration Act 1996 .

View hearing:

Day 1

Part 1

Part 2

Day 2

Part 1

Part 2