United Kingdom updates

Arbitration & ADR

Contributed by Clifford Chance
Court upholds tribunal's jurisdiction over settlement agreement lacking express arbitration clause
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 April 2019

The High Court recently found that a tribunal had jurisdiction over a dispute that arose from a settlement agreement lacking an express arbitration clause. The decision serves as a reminder of the delays and additional costs that may be incurred if an agreement is unclear as to the applicable dispute resolution mechanism. Parties can reduce the risks of such delays and costs by including an express dispute resolution clause in settlement agreements.

Enforcement of arbitral award against sovereign state requires service through diplomatic channels
  • United Kingdom
  • 07 March 2019

The High Court recently considered whether service of formal court documentation on a state party is a necessary requirement when seeking to enforce an arbitral award against it or whether service can be dispensed with. The courts' unique approach to disputes involving state defendants is shaped not only by the applicable statutes, such as the State Immunity Act 1978, but also by the diplomatic considerations that feature prominently in investor-state cases.

High Court considers summary dismissal of serious irregularity challenges to arbitral awards
  • United Kingdom
  • 31 January 2019

The High Court recently examined the process for the summary dismissal of a challenge to an arbitral award on the grounds of serious irregularity. Mr Justice Males held that the purpose of oral hearings on summary dismissal is to determine only whether there is a real prospect of the challenge succeeding. Going beyond that would frustrate the objective of the summary dismissal mechanism.

State consent to arbitrate and waiver of immunity determined by clear wording of arbitration agreement
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 October 2018

The High Court recently examined an application by Ukraine to set aside an enforcement award following a disputed arbitration award. The case highlights the importance of ensuring that any agreement being entered into with a state party contains carefully drafted arbitration provisions and appropriately worded waiver of immunity language to ensure that the dispute resolution regime is fit for purpose.

High Court refuses to restrain EU court proceedings brought in breach of arbitration agreement
  • United Kingdom
  • 16 August 2018

The English courts will not grant anti-suit injunctions to restrain court proceedings brought in breach of arbitration clauses in the courts of other EU member states, as seen in the High Court's recent refusal of an application for anti-suit relief to restrain court proceedings in Cyprus and its grant of an anti-suit injunction targeted at court proceedings in Russia. This decision provides, at least for now, clarity in an area of law that has been subject to debate.


Aviation

Contributed by Vedder Price LLP
Aircraft Purchase Fleet Limited sought $260 million in damages from Compagnia Aerea Italia
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 February 2019

In a recent High Court Case, Aircraft Purchase Fleet Limited (APFL) sought $260 million in damages from Compagnia Aerea Italia (CAI) for an alleged repudiatory breach of a framework agreement under which CAI had agreed to lease certain new Airbus A320 family aircraft. APFL had agreed to buy these aircraft from Airbus. However, CAI argued that it had become impossible for either party to perform the framework agreement following Airbus' termination of its obligations to sell aircraft to APFL.

Drones – the rise of the Basic Regulation
  • United Kingdom
  • 03 October 2018

In July 2017 the government released proposals to regulate the use of drones in the United Kingdom. Since then, the regulation of drones has been transferred to the European Union and now falls under the EU Basic Regulation. Many of the UK government's proposals for drone operators are included in the EU Basic Regulation, which sets the groundwork for establishing rules that will require operators of drones that weigh 250kg and above to register them and ensure that they are marked for identification.

Slots can be traded for value even after insolvency
  • United Kingdom
  • 16 May 2018

Monarch Airlines Limited's administrators have won an appeal with the Court of Appeal regarding Monarch's rights in and to certain 'slots' at Luton and Gatwick airports after it went into administration. The case is significant, as it reaffirms the value ascribed to slots by airlines and their financiers as rights of the airline and the fact that, as a result, they can be traded for value even after insolvency.

Operating lessor financings: structural overview
  • United Kingdom
  • 28 March 2018

With competition among aircraft lessors remaining fierce, airlines are taking an increasing proportion of aircraft on operating leases. The 'wholesaling' of debt financing – where the primary recourse entity on financings is the lessor rather than the airline – is an important recent trend in the aircraft financing market that is likely to continue. Aircraft financiers should be aware of the structural items to consider in executing operating lessor financings and the pitfalls to be avoided.

Split closings: a divide in methods
  • United Kingdom
  • 21 March 2018

The inclusion of engine pooling arrangements and rigorous maintenance requirements in operating leases frequently results in engines which formed part of a leased aircraft at delivery being off-wing. Off-wing engines create complications for transaction parties attempting to execute a sale of the aircraft. While these complications are not insurmountable, the marketplace has developed different approaches to address the off-wing engine scenario.


Banking

Contributed by Allen & Overy LLP
EUR wrong: when sterling means euros
  • United Kingdom
  • 18 January 2019

The High Court recently used interpretation rather than rectification to fix an unhappily drafted loan agreement for "Seven Million Five Hundred Pounds [sic] (£7,500,000) to be drawn down in Euros". The dispute concerned whether the amount owed was in sterling or euros.

Three strikes and you're out – bank's duty to make inquiries of suspicious transactions
  • United Kingdom
  • 07 December 2018

A first-instance court recently considered the extent to which a bank's duty of care owed to its customers, co-existing in contract and tort, requires the bank to make inquiries of suspicious transactions in their bank accounts. The court found in favour of the bank on the basis of expiry of the relevant limitation period. This article focuses on the court's discussion, by way of obiter, of the bank's duty of care owed to its customers where suspicious transactions occur.

Redressing the balance: banks owe no contractual duty to customers in respect of regulator-mandated reviews
  • United Kingdom
  • 19 October 2018

A recent decision gave Court of Appeal endorsement to a raft of similar first-instance decisions regarding banks' contractual duties to customers in respect of regulator-mandated reviews. The decision provides helpful comfort for banks when agreeing remedial action with the Financial Conduct Authority that they ought not to be exposing themselves to private actions from customers in respect of their review, provided that third-party rights are excluded.


Capital Markets

Listing sovereign-controlled companies in the United Kingdom
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 December 2018

The listing regime for the United Kingdom's Official List is divided into premium and standard listing segments. For admittance to the premium listing segment, an issuer must meet higher UK-specific standards that are intended to provide additional investor protection and promote shareholder confidence. The UK Financial Conduct Authority recently introduced a new category, but issuers have yet to avail themselves of the new regime.

New IPO process in practice: emerging trends?
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 November 2018

The Financial Conduct Authority recently implemented changes to the initial public offer (IPO) regime that have had a fundamental impact on the process of conducting an IPO in the United Kingdom. Companies including Aston Martin and Funding Circle have had to negotiate these new rules in practice over the past few months and certain trends are now beginning to emerge.


Company & Commercial

Contributed by Squire Patton Boggs
Directors' remuneration – new draft regulations
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 May 2019

The draft Companies (Directors' Remuneration Policy and Directors' Remuneration Report) Regulations 2019 were recently published as part of the drive to encourage long-term shareholder engagement and to strengthen the governance and performance of traded companies. Most of the directors' remuneration reporting requirements inserted by the EU Shareholder Rights Directive II already apply under UK law and the draft regulations will implement most of the requirements that do not currently apply.

PLSA Corporate Governance Policy and Voting Guidelines 2019
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 February 2019

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association recently published guidance on market best practice to assist its members when exercising their vote at annual general meetings in 2019. The revised version of its Corporate Governance Policy and Voting Guidelines reflects the introduction of the 2018 UK Corporate Governance Code, which applies to financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2019.

When is a decision to declare an interim dividend a decision?
  • United Kingdom
  • 28 January 2019

Small businesses often structure payments to directors who are also shareholders using a combination of dividend payments and salaries. At a time when corporate governance and director and shareholder accountability are under review, a recent Court of Appeal decision gives more reason for directors to ensure that they understand not only their obligations and duties as directors under the Companies Act 2006, but also the implications of relying solely on advice without evaluating it first.

2019 AGM season – Investment Association sets the bar
  • United Kingdom
  • 21 January 2019

The Investment Association recently published its annual letter to remuneration committee chairs and updated its principles of remuneration for the next annual general meeting season. The key changes to the principles mostly reflect the new UK Corporate Governance Code and specifically address malus and clawback provisions, shareholding requirements and post-employment holding periods, pensions and restricted shares.

Directors' duties: guidance from GC100
  • United Kingdom
  • 19 November 2018

The Association of General Counsel and Company Secretaries working in UK FTSE 100 companies (GC100) has issued guidance on the practical interpretation of Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006. The GC100 guidance aims to provide directors with practical help in interpreting their Section 172 duties rather than offer legal advice, and sets out five specific things to help directors embed Section 172 into their decision making.