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Sovereign Pari Passu and the Litigators of the Lost Cause

12 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2013  

Joseph Cotterill

Financial Times

Date Written: November 28, 2013


The pari passu saga isn’t about the pari passu clause. A year on from Argentina’s first defeat in a US appeals court, it has become a wider debate about ‘recalcitrant’ sovereign debtors, broad use of courts’ powers of equity in bond contract cases, and ratable payment itself. A recent copycat pari passu lawsuit against Grenada demonstrates these points well — testing the limits of ‘recalcitrance’, but still not finding firm answers. This provokes one or two questions. Was the pari passu ‘cause’ actually worth it? Despite its apparent success for pre-judgment holdouts, litigation is likely to remain lengthy and tangled up with negotiation. Will it be more useful for post-judgment creditors to instead use to sue everyone? And will ‘fixing’ the saga simply be a matter of redrafting the clause?

Suggested Citation

Cotterill, Joseph, Sovereign Pari Passu and the Litigators of the Lost Cause (November 28, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Joseph Cotterill (Contact Author)

Financial Times ( email )

United Kingdom

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