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.
Company Director. The Chancery Division allowed the claimant companies' application for an order, under of the Senior Courts Act 1981, that B should pay most of the costs of their claim against the defendants. B had been the real party, since he had controlled and partly funded the defence of the claim with a view to his own benefit, and therefore it was right that he should pay the costs that the claimants had incurred as a result.
Pleading Striking out. The Queen's Bench Division found that the first three defendants had breached their duties of disclosure, but that it was not appropriate to strike out their defences and costs orders in the claimant's favour would be made. Further, although the claimant's response to the their CPR Pt 18 request did answer the first three defendants' questions to some extent, it was better to strike out that response and order a further one.
European Union Civil and commercial matters. The Court of Justice of the European Union gave a preliminary ruling in which it decided that had to be interpreted as precluding national legislation, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which provided that, in the event that a judicial document, served on a defendant residing in the territory of another member state, had not been drafted or accompanied by a translation either in a language which that defendant understood, or in the official language of the requested member state or, where there were several official languages in that member state, in the official language or one of the official languages of the place where service was to be effected, the omission of the standard form set out in Annex II to that Regulation rendered such service or notification invalid, even if such invalidity had to be invoked by that defendant within a specified period or at the beginning of the proceedings and before any defence on the merits.
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.
Negligence Contributory negligence. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed an appeal by the defendant lorry driver against a finding of negligence in relation to an accident involving the claimant cyclist and also in relation to the finding of contributory negligence.
Practice Summary judgment. The Commercial Court dismissed the claimant's application for summary judgment in respect of a claim for restitution in the sum of 50m where the defendant had a real prospect of success in defending the claim.
Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft v Liquimar Tankers Management Inc.; Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft v Pauline Shipping Ltd and another
Practice Jurisdiction. The Commercial Court dismissed the defendant companies' application for a stay and declined to set aside service out of the jurisdiction, in a case in which proceedings were on foot in both Greece and England concerning related matters and asymmetric jurisdiction clauses conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the courts of a member state of the European Union within the terms of of Regulation (EU) 1215-2012. The court held that, among other things, the English court had jurisdiction.
Solicitor Negligence. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division allowed an appeal of the claimants against a decision striking out their claim against the defendant firm of solicitor. The case was not one which was suitable for summary judgment as controversial points about scope of duty should, in principle, be decided at a trial.
County court Costs. The Court of Appeal Civil Division held that the regime for fixed costs provided by s IIIA of CPR 45 for claims which had been started, but no longer continued, under the pre-action protocol for low value personal injury (employers' liability and public liability) applied to the costs of an application under of County Courts Act 1984 for pre-action disclosure in connection with such a claim.