Practice Summary judgment. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division allowed the claimant bank's appeal against an order giving summary judgment for the first defendant and setting aside service of the claim form and particulars of claim against the second defendant. In proceedings which arose out of the storage of silver in China by the second defendant, the court found that many aspects of the matter remained obscure and held that the position was not clear enough to say that the claim had no real prospect of success.
Practice Stay of proceedings. The European Commission had found four of the defendant companies to be in breach of art81(1) of the EC Treaty in respect of its MasterCard scheme. The claimants subsequently issued proceedings in the English courts. The first claim was a 'follow-on' action and the second a 'read-across' claim. The Queen's Bench Division, Commercial Court, considered whether to grant a stay of the proceedings pending an appeal to the European Court of Justice. In dismissing the defendants' applications, the court held that, in the circumstances, the balance was against the imposition of an immediate stay.
Blueco Ltd v BWAT Retail Nominee (1) Ltd and other companies; The Prudential Assurance Company Ltd and other companies v Blueco Ltd and other companies
Landlord and tenant Lease. The proceedings concerned the trial of two related actions concerning a pre-emptive right to acquire a share in the net rents arising from occupational tenants at the Bluewater regional shopping centre. The Chancery Division held that, on the true construction of a management lease for Bluewater shopping centre, the landlord did not have an unconditional option to purchase a further 15% of the net rents arising from the ultimate occupiers and tenants at the Bluewater site.
Employment Contract. The claimant former High Commissioner to Belize was removed from his position following allegations of misconduct. He sought damages against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (the FCO) for breach of his employment contract and breach of duty. The Queen's Bench Division, in allowing the application, held that the FCO had breached the employment contract and its duties to the claimant by: (i) not conducting a basic analysis of the allegations before withdrawing him from his post; (ii) having the same person conduct a fact-finding investigation and disciplinary hearing; and (iii) withdrawing the claimant from his post without informing him of the case against him.
Solicitor Partnership. The Chancery Division considered a dispute between two solicitors who had been in partnership. It held that the claimant, G, was entitled to damages for breach of contract, following a course of conduct by the defendant, B, his former partner, whose conduct had had the cumulative effect of it not being reasonably practicable for G to continue in practice with him. In dismissing B's counterclaim, the court held that no breach of good faith on the part of G had been established.
Guarantee Liability of guarantor. Stephen Mallett had given a personal guarantee in respect of a line of credit that had been extended to a company of which he was a director. After Mr Mallett had sold his shares in the company, that line of credit had been further extended before the company went into creditors' voluntary liquidation. The claimant society, which had extended the credit, sought to enforce the guarantee. Mr Mallett contended that he had been discharged from the guarantee because of the extensions to the credit limit to which he had neither consented nor had knowledge. The judge found that he remained liable. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed Mr Mallett's appeal, finding that, on the true interpretation of the guarantee, his liability had continued.
Contract Parties. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, upheld a decision that a contract, under which the defendant firm of architects had been instructed, had been entered into with the claimant in his personal capacity rather than as director of his company.
Value added tax Input tax. The first appellant (WHA), was an English company which had contracted with Viscount, a Gibraltar based company and the reinsurer of UK Motor Breakdown Insurance (MBI) policies, to instruct garages in the UK to carry out any works required to be effected under the insurance policies. The proceedings concerned the effectiveness of a scheme designed to minimise the overall liability to VAT of a group of companies involved in MBI. The purpose of the scheme was to enable the VAT element of the cost of repairs to be recovered by one or other of the members of a group of companies to which an MBI insurer belonged, thereby reducing costs and enabling the insurer to offer lower premiums. Following the implementation of the scheme in 1998, the Revenue refused the claims made by WHA and Viscount for the repayment of tax. In 2007, the Court of Appeal held in favour of the Revenue that the scheme was abusive. On WHA and Viscount's appeal, the Supreme Court upheld that decision and held that there had been no supply of repair services by the garages in question to the first appellant for the purposes of its business, on which WHA might claim deduction of input tax.
Particulars of claim Amendment. The claimant was owner of two warehouses which had been built by the defendant, with some of the work having been sub-contracted to a third party. The claimant was dissatisfied with the work carried out by the sub-contractor and issued proceedings against the defendant shortly before the limitation period expired. The claimant subsequently sought to amend its particulars of claim after the limitation period had ended. The judge permitted such a change, finding that the claim sought to be introduced in the amendment had not sought to introduce a new cause of action. The defendant and sub-contractor appealed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the appeal, finding that the amended claim had sought to assert a new cause of action.
Beijing Jianlong Heavy Industry Group v Golden Ocean Group Ltd and another company; Beijing Jianlong Heavy Industry Group v Ship Finance International Ltd and another company
Shipping Charterparty. The Commercial Court considered applications in which it was alleged that the claimant company had repudiated its obligations under certain charterparties. The court held, applying the principle in Foster V Driscoll , that the views of the arbitrators had been correct, and that, contrary to the claimant company's submissions, the guarantees in the case were enforceable as a matter of English public policy.