Mr Matthew Evans

Matthew Evans



What does 'market practice' entail? Court of Appeal rules on use of term in ISDA master agreement
United Kingdom | 22 September 2020

The Court of Appeal recently held that 'market practice' is too wide a term to be implied into an International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) master agreement covering currency trading transactions by dismissing a claim arising from the 'de-pegging' of the Swiss franc from the euro. The desire to maintain the certainty and stability of the relationship between those contracting based on the ISDA master agreement underpinned the court's decision.

COVID-19 and the courts: a headlong journey into remoteness
United Kingdom | 31 March 2020

The English civil justice system has shown itself to be capable of rapid change as it adapts to the new reality caused by COVID-19. The clarion call from the English courts is that they are open for business, driven by the need to maintain the access to justice which is vital for the functioning of civil society. However, this will not be an easy task and it would be naive to think that there will not be teething problems during the move into a new era of conducting litigation in new ways.

Pay heed to tiered dispute resolution clauses
United Kingdom | 17 September 2019

The High Court recently upheld a tiered dispute resolution clause in accordance with established principles of contractual interpretation. The court ordered a stay of proceedings for mediation and, in support of the mediation, also ordered pleadings to be served in advance to optimise the prospects of a settlement. This decision continues the post-Sureterm union between commercial common sense and the plain and ordinary meaning of words.

No exceptions to exclusionary rule: Court of Appeal confirms established principle
United Kingdom | 30 April 2019

The Court of Appeal recently reiterated that, while evidence of pre-contractual negotiations can be adduced to demonstrate how a transaction came about or what its commercial aims were, it cannot be adduced to aid the interpretation of the contractual provisions themselves. The case also confirms that the English courts continue to take a doctrinal approach to contractual interpretation.

High Court warns directors to get match fit for new reporting regulations
United Kingdom | 25 September 2018

It is understandable that directors might be reluctant to seek legal advice – be it due to concern about time or cost or a potential conflict of interest if seeking advice internally. However, as a recent case demonstrates, this is a small price to pay to avoid the time and financial cost of a claim, especially when a company's subsequent precarious financial position shines a light on an officer's behaviour and competence.

Senior noteholder directions: another commercial approach by Financial List
United Kingdom | 15 May 2018

In a recent case, the High Court confirmed the validity of a senior noteholder's directions under a note structure governed by the laws of multiple jurisdictions. In doing so, it highlighted the common ground between the London and New York markets with regard to the common law principles of contractual construction and demonstrated the efficiency of the speedy trial procedure in the Financial List.

Court of Appeal brings conflict of laws rules to bear on third-party noteholder rights
United Kingdom | 31 October 2017

The Court of Appeal recently applied established English conflict of laws rules in holding that a non-bearer holder of issued notes was not entitled to sue under those notes for breach of contract. In doing so, the court has provided commercial certainty to downstream holders of interests in securities, but left open important questions as to third-party redress under these structures.

High Court sheds light on compulsory jurisdiction of Financial Ombudsman Service
United Kingdom | 11 July 2017

A recent High Court decision has provided some clarification of the scope of the compulsory jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service. The decision has left the scope of that jurisdiction open to discussion and appears to suggest that the courts will take a more mechanical approach to reviewing regulatory decisions.

Another bad bargain upheld: Wood v Sureterm Direct Ltd
United Kingdom | 16 May 2017

The Supreme Court recently dismissed an appeal in Wood v Sureterm Direct Ltd. The court upheld the Court of Appeal's decision on the meaning of an indemnity clause and agreed with its application of established contractual interpretation doctrine. The decision confirms the established judicial approach to contractual interpretation: that is, the focus on the words of a given clause.

Intention to be bound: High Court construes commitment letter against equity participant
United Kingdom | 25 October 2016

The High Court recently held that the defendant signatory to a commitment letter had intended to be legally bound by that document. In so finding, the court held that the defendant was in anticipatory repudiatory breach of contract. While the decision ultimately turned on the words of the commitment letter, it demonstrates that the court will take a pragmatic approach to determining intention to create legal relations.

Caveat emptor: buyer's inadequate notice precludes £3.5 million warranty claim
United Kingdom | 14 June 2016

In Teoco UK Limited v Aircom Jersey 4 Limited the High Court held that a buyer gave inadequate notice of certain breach of warranty claims, thereby preventing it from pursuing those claims (worth around £3.5 million). The court held that the buyer did not specify the warranties in respect of which it was claiming, and that it was too "tentative and contingent" in the description of its claims.

Court permits early redemption of Lloyds Banking Group's enhanced capital notes
United Kingdom | 05 January 2016

The Court of Appeal recently reversed a first-instance decision of the High Court by allowing early redemption of certain convertible securities (known as 'enhanced capital notes'). While there was no dispute as to the applicable principles of contractual interpretation, the Court of Appeal's judgment highlights that very different conclusions can be reached when applying those principles to complex transaction wording.