*Bahamas Oil Refining Company International Ltd v Owners of the Cape Bari Tankschiffahrts GMBH & Co KG (Bahamas)
Shipping Limitation of liability. The Privy Council advised that it was permissible for the owner of a vessel to contract out of or waive their statutory right of limitation under the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Claims Limitation of Liability) Act 1989 of the Bahamas and the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976. In the present appeal, on the true construction of an agreement between the parties, the respondents had not contracted out of that Act and Convention.
Practice Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. The Queen's Bench Division dismissed the claimant's claim for damages arising out of an accident that occurred whilst he was in France on a holiday on the basis that English law applied as the claimant's claim was contractual in nature and governed by .
Contract Breach of contract. The Commercial Court held that the defendant bank was contractually bound by a commitment letter, which had been duly executed by the bank's head of treasury and investments on its behalf, to provide equity funding for the purchase of an aircraft and that the decision of the defendant's board not to proceed with the transaction amounted to an anticipatory repudiatory breach of contract, such that the defendant was liable for the claimant's loss in an amount to be agreed.
Bank Securities. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of the trustee for the holders of 3.3bn of enhanced capital notes (ECNs) against a decision that the ECNs were redeemable. In so doing, it held that a 'capital disqualification event' had arisen, as defined in the terms and conditions of the trust deed.
Landlord and tenant Eviction. The Supreme Court, in dismissing the appellant's appeal, held that a court, when entertaining a claim for possession by a private sector owner against a residential occupier, should not be required to consider the proportionality of evicting the occupier, in the light of of the Human Rights Act 1998 and art 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Damages Measure of damages. The Queen's Bench Division held the that the cause of the fracture of the cistern and the consequent escape of water over the weekend in the building owned by the claimants was not the ground-borne vibrations caused by the collapse at the London Stock Exchange in 2005 which was due to the consequence of its negligence in overloading the floor slab by the defendants.
Contract Termination. The Technology and Construction Court considered a dispute concerning a contract under which the defendant company had provided repair and maintenance services to the claimant company's housing stock. It held that, among other things, the claimant's construction of the contract with regard to levels of minimum acceptable performance and profit performance threshold was to be preferred.
Contract Sale of properties. The Chancery Division dismissed, in its entirety, the claimant's claim that the defendant, his brother, had been bound by an agreement to pay him the proceeds of the sale of houses, which had been repossessed from the claimant, and which the defendant had subsequently purchased and sold. The court held that there had been no agreement as alleged by the claimant and that the defendant did not hold the properties on trust for him.
Practice Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. The Commercial Court ruled that the fact that the first defendant had settled a claim against him alleging fraud, amongst other things, did not prevent the second and third defendants from claiming a contribution from him, as was clear from of the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978. However, the facts alleged in the particulars of claim which accused the first defendant of fraud and other wrongdoing were no longer facts in issue in the proceedings since the case had been settled and as the second and third defendants had failed to advance such a case, and given a fatal flaw in the draft contribution notice, they were refused permission to bring a claim against the first defendant for a contribution. Further, the court ruled that a defendant in a fraud case could be entitled to a freezing injunction against a co-defendant. However, as permission to bring a contribution claim had been refused, there was no prospective judgment which the first defendant might thwart, and, accordingly, the second defendant's application for a freezing injunction against the first defendant was refused.
Contract Breach. The Privy Council dismissed the appellant's appeal against, among other things, a decision that a clause in a lease of part of a resort, granted by the appellant to the respondent, did not restrict the respondent's right to claim damages for breach of contract. It held that, absent any indication in the wording of the clause in the context of the lease as a whole that the 'penalty fee' was to be in substitution for common law damages for breach of contract, the fee would be construed as an additional charge on the occurrence of an interruption caused by a breach of contract.