A recent Supreme Court decision concerned a mass tort claim and the potential liability of an English parent company for the actions of its foreign subsidiaries. The court found that a duty of care can exist between a parent company and third parties affected by the actions of its subsidiaries, but was reluctant to place limits on the types of case where a parent company might incur a duty of care.
The Supreme Court recently overturned the Court of Appeal in a judgment which considered the proper measure of damages in a situation where the party suffering loss had avoided a greater loss as a result of the breach by the other party. This decision highlights the issues that parties can encounter following repudiatory breach and disputes that arise regarding alleged acts of mitigation. However, the facts were unusual and the court was limited to considering whether the arbitrator had erred in law.
In the first judgment issued under the new specialist Financial List, the High Court has allowed a Portuguese bank, Banco Santander Totta, to enforce a number of 'snowball' interest rate swaps against four Portuguese public sector transport companies, finding that the swaps should be determined under English law and, on that basis, were valid and enforceable.
The Commercial Court has declined to stay an English action in favour of prior proceedings in Italy, notwithstanding the fact that the dispute pre-dated the application of the recast EU Brussels Regulation. Applying the 2001 Brussels Regulation, the court refused a stay under Articles 27 and 28. Unusually, the court also granted summary judgment at the same hearing.
The Court of Appeal has found that both partners in a firm of property consultants were jointly and severally liable on account of a breach of fiduciary duty by one of them. The judgment provides an interesting analysis of the liability of a partnership where one partner has acted in breach of fiduciary duty in circumstances where other partners are unaware of the breach.
The High Court has upheld a building society's right to raise the margin over base rate for tracker mortgages in light of poor market conditions and to carry out its business prudently, efficiently and competitively. The case considered the interpretation of two allegedly conflicting contractual terms regarding the right to vary interest rates.
In the latest instalment in the long-running dispute between the Tchenguiz brothers and the Serious Fraud Office, the High Court considered the claimants' rights to use documents disclosed in English proceedings in concurrent proceedings in Guernsey. The court confirmed the high bar that must be met when applying for permission to use documents for purposes other than the proceedings in which they were disclosed.
The High Court has allowed an appeal of a decision on a defendant's liability for costs following its acceptance of the claimant's offer under Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules. The High Court's ruling confirms that in cases involving multiple defendants, an individual defendant may, on acceptance of a Part 36 offer, be liable for non-specific common costs in addition to the costs attributable to the proceedings against it.
The High Court recently ordered a Texas-based claimant to pay security for costs. While such applications are common, this decision is of particular interest as the court departed from a previous High Court decision which had sought to establish an exception to the Court of Appeal precedent that foreign residence in a country not covered by the Brussels/Lugano regime is insufficient to justify the exercise of powers to order security for costs.
The Court of Appeal recently upheld the High Court's decision to refuse permission to amend an existing claim to include allegations of intentional wrongdoing. Although the court found that there was an attempt to plead a new cause of action by the introduction of intentional wrongdoing, it left open the possibility of some of the proposed amendments being incorporated into the reply as part of a rebuttal to the defence.
The Court of Appeal recently confirmed that a chief executive's announcement made orally to staff on behalf of the board amounted to a contractual commitment to a minimum bonus pool and the company was obliged to maintain the bonus pool for distribution among staff. This decision provides guidance as to the circumstances in which an oral statement can suffice to give rise to binding contractual obligations.
In a recent case, two corporate defendants and a director of both companies were found to be in contempt of court and were fined after the companies failed to comply with an injunction concerning the removal of cigarette bins from certain properties within the City of Westminster. The case is a useful reminder to parties that where injunctions are not complied with, proceedings for civil contempt may be appropriate.
The Court of Appeal recently overturned a High Court decision and held that an investor was entitled to recover substantial damages for loss of capital arising from market movements from HSBC as he had specifically sought to protect himself from the risk of market movement at the time he entered into the investment
A recent case concerned a dispute over a property development in Dubai in which the defendant argued that he had not been validly served and that, in any event, Dubai was the appropriate forum. The court allowed an application for summary judgment to be heard at the same time as the defendant's jurisdictional challenge, finding this to be near-perfect example of a case meriting such a decision.
In an age of globalised deals conducted by electronic communications, the volume of material relevant to a single dispute is often enormous. A recent lecture by Lord Justice Jackson has emphasised the ways in which the coming reforms to civil litigation will affect the role of technology. There is little doubt that lawyers can expect a more proactive - and in some parts automated - court system in the post-Jackson era.
In rejecting a comparison between trustees and insolvency practitioners, a recent decision affirms the limit on the personal liability of insolvency practitioners for actions while holding office. It also reminds parties pursuing an insolvent company that although a claim may be successful, a winning party will be unable to look to the insolvency office holder to meet any shortfall in damages or costs awarded in the company's estate.
In a recent decision the High Court again emphasised the high level of protection afforded to legal professional privilege in law, and made clear that a party's right to claim legal professional privilege should be overridden by a court order only in exceptional circumstances.
The government's plan for reducing legal aid was recently confirmed with the publication of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. It seeks to incentivise claimants to control their costs by adopting most of Lord Justice Jackson's recommendations. However, litigators will be watching carefully to see how the bill evolves, particularly on the issue of Part 36 offers.
The High Court has granted a perpetual injunction preventing a former director of the claimant company from disclosing confidential information about the company's business. The case provides useful guidance as to the level of defendant misconduct that is required to obtain such an order.
A recent High Court decision concerned an application by the defendants to be released from undertakings given in lieu of an injunction by reason of the claimant's non-disclosure of certain factual matters. It demonstrates that the overriding issue for the court, when considering non-disclosure in this context, is to consider what is in the interests of justice, rather than adopting a strict approach to the disciplinary provisions.
Jacobs v Motor Insurers' Bureau is the first High Court case to consider EU Regulation 864/2007 - known as Rome II - since it came into effect in January 2009. Pursuant to Rome II, the court ruled that Spanish law applied to a UK resident bringing an action for compensation against the Motor Insurers' Bureau following an accident in Spain.