Arbitration Adjudication. The defendant was the main contractor under a contract with London Underground Limited in respect of the refurbishment of Hammersmith Underground Station. The Queen's Bench Division, Technology and Construction Court allowed the claimant's application for summary judgment and held that, in the circumstances, the defendant had no real prospects of successfully defending the enforcement of the adjudicator's decision.
Medical practitioner Negligence. The claimant had been unwell as a baby and had been seen by the defendant general practitioner. She diagnosed colic. Two days later, the claimant was admitted to hospital with acute bacterial meningitis. Consequently, he developed mental and physical disabilities. The claimant alleged medical negligence on the part of the defendant, alleging that if she had referred him to hospital earlier, he would have received the appropriate treatment which would have prevented the meningitis from developing. His claim was dismissed, the judge finding that the defendant had not been negligent. That conclusion was based on witness and documentary evidence, which had led the judge to conclude that the claimant's mother's evidence had been unsatisfactory. The claimant appealed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the appeal, holding that the judge had not erred in his approach or in the conclusion that he had reached.
Solicitor Costs. The claimant law firm had been instructed by Chama Chifuntwe to issue judicial review proceedings against the Secretary of State for the Home Office. Proceedings were compromised and the Secretary of State agreed to pay Mr Chifuntwe's costs. He had paid his solicitor 1,500 on account of costs, whereas the bill of costs was 9,500. The Secretary of State offered 6,000 in settlement. Mr Chifuntwe wrote directly to the Secretary of State stating that he had withdrawn instructions from his solicitor and accepted the settlement offer, asking that the money be sent directly to him. The solicitor contacted the Secretary of State to tell her not to pay the money directly to Mr Chifuntwe as he was trying to avoid paying his bill. The Secretary of State paid 6,000 to Mr Chifuntwe, who promptly disappeared without paying his solicitor. The solicitor's application for payment by the Secretary of State under CPRPt8 was dismissed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the appeal in part, holding that Mr Chifuntwe's acceptance of the settlement figure had been binding but, as the Secretary of State had been on notice of the claim against Mr Chifuntwe, the payment made to him had not been a good discharge of the claim. The Secretary of State was ordered to pay the solicitor 4,500.
Practice Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. The claimant terminated a charterparty prematurely on the ground that the defendant company was in repudiatory breach of the charterparty. The claimant issued proceedings claiming damages for breach of the charterparty and a worldwide freezing order was subsequently granted. The claimant sought various orders, including for a variation of the freezing order to include securities which were assets legally and beneficially owned by five companies, which were not defendants in the proceedings but which were said to be subject to the controlling mind and will of the chief executive of the defendant. The defendant sought the discharge of the freezing order relying on the alleged breach of an undertaking by the claimant by the arrest of a vessel in a foreign jurisdiction. The Commercial Court held that, on the facts, the defendant had finally purged its contempt by providing the long overdue affidavit of assets. However, it refused to discharge the worldwide freezing order, having found that the arrest of the vessel did not involve a breach of the undertaking because it did not involve seeking an order of a similar nature to the worldwide freezing order. Further, in refusing the claimant's application to vary the worldwide freezing order to include the securities, the court held that, in general, the only circumstances where the court might make a freezing order over assets neither legally nor beneficially owned by a cause of action defendant was where the court was satisfied that there was good reason to suppose either (i) that the cause of action defendant could be compelled (through some process of enforcement) to cause the assets held by the non-cause-of-action defendant to be used for that purpose; or (ii) that there was some other process of enforcement by which the claimant could obtain recourse to the assets held by the non-cause of action defendant.
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.
Shipping Contract of affreightment. The parties were engaged in a long running dispute arising out of a contract of affreightment. In London arbitration, X had been adjudged liable to pay several millions of dollars to Y. X had paid nothing but had sought to challenge the fourth award pursuant to ss67 and 68 of the . The Commercial Court allowed Y's application for security for costs but refused its application for payment in in respect of X's challenges.
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.