Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2009] All ER (D) 165 (Jan)
Neutral Citation: [2009] EWCA Civ 16
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division
Judge:

Rix, Toulson and Rimer LJJ

Representation John McCaughran QC and Laurence Emmett (instructed by McGrigors LLP) for the claimant.
  David Streatfeild-James QC and Patrick Clarke (instructed by Campbell Hooper) for the defendants.
Judgment Dates: 23 January 2009

Catchwords

Contract - Construction - Exception clause - Availability of set-off defence to claim for non-payment of services - Claimant agreeing to provide paper handling facilities and services to defendants - Claimant seeking 'minimum tonnage payment' where minimum tonnage of paper not delivered in first contract year - Defendants withholding payment relying on claimant's failure to provide required services - Claimant applying for summary judgment - Master granting application - Defendants appealing against master's order relying on terms of contract relating to set-off - High Court judge allowing appeal finding reasonable prospect of success on defence of set-off - Claimant complaining about judge's interpretation of contract - Whether judge's findings correct.

The Case

Contract Construction. Court of Appeal, Civil Division: The court decided that the judge below had been wrong about his interpretation of a certain clause in a long-term 'paper-handling' contract insofar as the judge had stated that that clause assisted the defendant companies in their defence of a claim by the claimant company for the non-payment of services. The court stated that the clause in question was not wide in scope. Summary judgment was entered against the defendants, although the same's counterclaim against the claimant was not affected.

Practice Areas

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