Practice Summary judgment. The claimant was the head owner of a vessel which was grounded in Saudi Arabia. The claimant brought proceedings against the defendant sub-charterer pursuant to a purported guarantee sent by the sub-charterer to a master. The claimant applied for summary judgment. The Commercial Court held that the defendant had been concerned with its own right to have a larger quantity of cargo loaded. By giving the guarantee, the defendant had resolved a dispute with the immediate charter, not with the head owners. Accordingly, the application for summary judgment was dismissed and the claim had to fail.
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.
Costs Appeal. The appellant local authority appealed against cost orders. The parties indicated the likelihood of consent orders, but failed to appear at the hearing of the appeal. The Administrative Court dismissed the appeal as utterly hopeless.
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.
Costs Third party. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, in dismissing an appeal of the insurers of a defendant in a personal injury action, upheld a decision refusing the insurer's application for a third party costs order against solicitors acting for the claimant. The solicitors' alleged failure to act properly for the claimant, by failing to ensure after the event insurance had been obtained, had not demonstrated that the solicitors had become the 'real party' to the litigation so as to justify the order sought.
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.
Practice Summary judgment. The Chancery Division dismissed the defendants' applications for summary judgment, in circumstances where the substantial factual and documentary evidence and matters which were in dispute made the summary judgment procedure inappropriate. Further, subject to further discussion, the court allowed the claimant's application to strike out the majority of a witness statement made on behalf of the second to fourth defendants by a current director, in circumstances where, inter alia, the director would not be allowed at trial to give oral evidence which merely recited the relevant events, of which he did not have direct knowledge, by reference to documents he had read.
Libel and slander Particulars of claim. In the course of proceedings for libel and malicious falsehood, the claimant sought to amend his particulars of claim with respect to malice. The Queen's Bench Division held that the claimant was seeking a novel extension of the law by proposed reference to an intention to injure people other than himself. It allowed thirteen categories of amendments and permitted a further five categories of amendment, subject to alterations.
Costs Liability for costs. Following a judgment in favour of Deutsche Bank (Suisse) SA against defendants in respect of a bank loan, the Commercial Court held that the defendants were liable for costs on a joint and several basis and that the bank was entitled to costs on an indemnity basis.
Jurisdiction Concurrent proceedings. The Queen's Bench Division, Commercial Court, held that it was not necessary for the foreign process section of the Royal Courts of Justice to have received a French writ by both fax and post prior to the documents being deemed received for the purpose of art30(2) of Council Regulation (EC) 44-2001 (on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters). Either method sufficed. Accordingly, in circumstances where proceedings had been subsequently issued in England, the French court was the court first seized and the English proceedings would be stayed.