Disclosure Production of documents. The Chancery Division dismissed an application for pre-action disclosure, under of the Senior Courts Act 1981 and CPR 31.16. The court held that the applicants had failed to show that there was a real prospect of any of the three objectives in CPR 31.16(3)(d) being met. Accordingly, the application failed at the jurisdictional hurdle. The court considered that clarity and specificity in the documents sought by way of pre-action disclosure in CPR 31.16 applications was important, and that an application for pre-action disclosure should be crafted with great care and should be limited to what was strictly necessary.
Conflict of laws Jurisdiction. The Supreme Court dismissed the appellant company's appeal against a decision that the English courts did not have jurisdiction to hear its claim against the respondent company for damages and injunctive relief for the tort of inducing breach of contract of an exclusive jurisdiction and applicable law clauses. For the purposes of art5.3 of Council Regulation(EC) 44-2001, which gave jurisdiction in tort claims to the courts for the place in which the harmful event had occurred or might occur, the place where the harmful event had occurred had been Germany.
Landlord and tenant Lease. The Chancery Division ruled on the effect of a side letter, which provided for a lower yearly rent than that provided in a lease, and which had been made between the claimant tenant, Vivienne Westwood Ltd, and the then landlord at the same time as the grant of the lease. The court held that a termination provision in the side letter was penal in nature. Accordingly, the purported termination of the benefit of the side letter was unenforceable and the claimant remained liable and entitled to pay rent at the capped rate of 125,000 for so long as it satisfied the conditions in the side letter. The court also held that the demand, payment and acceptance of rent had not resulted in a binding compromise of a rent review, as the claimant had alleged. The rent review had been subsequently determined by agreement, following the appointment of an expert surveyor, at the rate of 232,500 per annum.
Redundancy Calculation of amount of payment. The Privy Council dismissed the appellant employee's appeal against the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago's decision that a living allowance loan by the respondent employer fell to be repaid, as he had not served a further five years with the employer because he had taken a voluntary redundancy. Although the courts below had erred in failing to consider whether a term was to be implied, they had correctly concluded that the employee's claim failed because he had voluntarily left his employment.
Conflict of laws Jurisdiction. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, ruled, in a case concerning litigation between JSC BTA Bank and it's former chairman's son-in-law (I) that, among other things, contempt of court, in the form of breaches of court orders, qualified as unlawful means for the purposes of that tort. I's appeal on the issue of whether the bank had established that it had a good arguable cause of action against him for the tort of conspiracy to injure by unlawful means was dismissed. The bank's appeal concerning the lower court's rulings on jurisdiction was dismissed in respect of two grounds. However, the bank's appeal was allowed in respect of limb (b) of art5(3) of the Convention on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (the place of the event giving rise to damage).
Company Cross-Border insolvency. The Supreme Court allowed Samba Financial Group's appeal against a decision of the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, setting aside an order of the Chancery Division which had stayed proceedings brought by a Cayman company and its joint liquidators, in which they had contended that transactions, transferring the beneficial ownership of shares in Saudi Arabian companies, by a Saudi Arabian citizen, to a Cayman Islands company, were void dispositions of property, under of the Insolvency Act 1986.
Al-Rawas v Hassan Khan & Co (a firm) and another; Al-Shanfari v Hassan Khan & Co (a firm) and another
Practice Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed an appeal in relation to a limitation point on of the Limitation Act 1980. It found that any new claim made in the course of an action was deemed to have been commenced on the same date as the original action. No such new claim, other than an original set-off or counterclaim, could be made after the expiry of any applicable limitation period, except as provided by rules of court.
Contempt of court Committal. The Commercial Court allowed the claimant company's application for a contempt order against H, the second defendant, who had control of the first defendant company, following the making of an arbitral order in the claimant's favour. The court held that the requirements for making a contempt order were made out, and that a sentence of 18 months' imprisonment would be imposed.
*R (on the application of Miller and another) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union; Re an application by Agnew and others for judicial review: reference by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland; Re an application by McCord for judicial review: reference by the Court of Appeal (Northern Ireland)
Crown Prerogative. The Supreme Court upheld the Divisional Court's decision that the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union did not have power under the Crown's prerogative powers to give notice pursuant to art 50 of the Treaty on European Union for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the EU. The authority of primary legislation was required before that course could be taken. Consequently, the Secretary of State's appeal against the High Court's decision would be dismissed. The Supreme Court further ruled on certain devolution questions referred to it by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland and the Court of Appeal, Northern Ireland.
Sentence Disqualification. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, in dismissing the defendant's appeal against sentence, held that, in all the circumstances, a seven-year disqualification order, imposed under s2 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act1986, was neither manifestly excessive or wrong in principle. The Sentencing Council's Definitive Guideline: Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea, made it clear that a guilty plea reduction in sentence should only be applied to the punitive elements of a penalty and that it had no impact on sentencing decisions in relation to ancillary orders.