Director Duty. The Chancery Division held that the defendant, A, had acted in breach of fiduciary duty in causing the claimant companies to grant security over various properties held by them to support a facility obtained by another company owned by a discretionary trust of which A was a beneficiary. On the facts, there was no limitation issue in relation to the breaches.
Agent Secret commission. The Commercial Court dismissed the claimants' claims against the defendants with respect to the development of new port facilities in Djibouti. The first defendant had not breached his duty to perform his contractual obligation in good faith and, although not under a duty to do so, he had disclosed his shareholdings in an involved company. Further, he had not been in breach of the duty of probity and had not abused his public position for private gain.
Bond Issue of. The Commercial Court, ruling on a preliminary issue concerning the validity of a mandatory conversion notice by the defendant, issued in respect of US$70m 2.5% convertible bonds, held that the notice had been valid.
Equity Breach of confidence. The Chancery Division held that the claimant, Paul Burrell, a former butler to the Royal Family, succeeded in proceedings for breach of confidence and misuse of private information against the defendant, Max Clifford, a former well-known publicist. The court held that, among other things, communication of a letter about the claimant's former work to a newspaper had not been authorised by him. PB would be awarded total compensation of 5,000.
Building contract Adjudication. The Technology and Construction Court, on the claimant's application for summary judgment to enforce a decision of an adjudicator, held that, as it had rejected the defendant's challenges to the jurisdiction of the adjudicator and its complaint that the adjudicator had wrongly decided the question of whether the relevant application for payment had been withdrawn, there had to be summary judgment for the claimant as claimed. The present was not one of the rare cases in which there should be a stay of enforcement of any part of the judgment sum.
Employment Contract of employment. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, upheld an injunction that prevented the defendant from acting in breach of certain of the post-termination restrictions contained within his contract of employment with the claimant. The starting point in the consideration of a claim by an employer to enforce an employee's negative covenant was that the ordinary remedy was an injunction. However, that was a discretionary remedy and might not be appropriate in all cases.
Re Ralls Builders Ltd (in liquidation); Grant and another (Joint Liquidators of Ralls Builders Ltd) v Ralls and others
Company Administration-Director. The Chancery Division ruled on the joint liquidators' application for a declaration of wrongful trading that, although the directors of a company in administration ought to have concluded by a certain date that there was no reasonable prospect of the company avoiding insolvent liquidation, continued trading had not caused loss to the company overall or worsen the position of the creditors as a whole. Accordingly, no declaration was made under of the Insolvency Act 1986, requiring the directors to make any contribution to the assets of the company in respect of any losses said to have been caused to the company during the period of wrongful trading.
Child Custody. The Family Division granted an application to join the son of Madonna and Guy Ritchie to English proceedings brought by Madonna, under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980, for an order seeking his summary return to the United States. Taking account of, among other things, the fact that he was close to the upper age limit that had been placed on the jurisdiction conferred by the Hague Convention, his maturity and expressed opposition to be returned to the US at the present time, it was in the child's best interests to be joined as a party to the proceeding.s
Practice Summary judgment. The Chancery Division, in granting the claimants' application for summary judgment, ruled that they were entitled to specific performance of agreements for the assignment to them of patents concerning technology used for eliminating airborne pathogens. The defendants had to do as they had agreed and execute the assignment documentation and there had been no condition precedent in the agreements that the obligation to assign the patents did not arise unless and until royalties had been paid, either in whole or in part.
Contract Construction. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed an appeal against an award in respect of the sale of a solicitor's practice. The judge had erred in his approach to the sale and purchase agreement as it concerned payment for work in progress. He had erred in not having awarded the defendant damages when he had found that there had been a breach of warranty and misrepresentation on the part of the claimant and he had taken an incorrect approach to his award of damages for wasted management time.