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Commercial Litigation Updates

Commercial Skulduggery – Merchant Ship Deliberately Scuttled

Published on: 19 October 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

The commercial courts are often instrumental in exposing skulduggery and that was certainly so in one case in which the director of a shipping company was found to have masterminded the scuttling of a merchant vessel with a view to financial gain.

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Rules of Natural Justice Breached in £30 Million Contract Adjudication

Published on: 20 September 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Rules of Natural Justice Breached in £30 Million Contract Adjudication

It is essential that contract adjudicators must not only act, but be seen to act, fairly. In one case involving a contract to install a £30 million airport baggage handling system, the High Court ruled that that requirement had not been met.

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Cruise Ship Refurbishment Delay Leads to Euros 770,000 Payout

Published on: 15 August 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Cruise Ship Refurbishment Delay Leads to Euros 770,000 Payout

Contractual deadlines can be very tight and the financial consequences of breaching them are often severe. In one case which underlined the point, a cruise ship operator won Euros 770,000 in damages from a shipyard after a major refurbishment of its flagship was held up for a month, largely due to strike action.

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Commodities Company Pays $40 Million Price of Oil Shipping Fraud

Published on: 02 August 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Sharp practices and deceit are sadly not uncommon in commerce – but one Court of Appeal case involving numerous shipments of mis-described crude oil showed that the law can catch up with perpetrators no matter how long after the event the truth emerges.

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Computer Software is ‘Goods’, Court Rules

Published on: 12 July 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

In an important decision which established that computer software can properly be viewed as ‘goods’, notwithstanding its intangibility, the High Court has awarded substantial compensation to a commercial agent whose client backed out of a promotion deal without notice.

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Torture and Bribery Alleged in Shipping Contract Dispute

Published on: 26 May 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Torture and Bribery Alleged in Shipping Contract Dispute

In the context of a shipping contract dispute, the High Court has reiterated the basic principle of law that evidence obtained by torture must be disregarded by the courts of any civilised nation.

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Unsigned Contracts Can Still Be Binding, Court of Appeal Rules

Published on: 17 May 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

It is a surprisingly common misconception that written contracts only become effective when signatures are appended. One Court of Appeal case, involving a cookware company and the producers of a popular television cooking show, underlined that that is most certainly not the case.

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Oil Tanker’s Detention Triggers High Court Arbitration Dispute

Published on: 28 April 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

The whole point of commercial arbitrations is to achieve final resolutions with which all parties must abide, whether or not they are happy with the result. The High Court made that point as it considered the unfortunate case of an oil tanker which had been detained at a Venezuelan port for almost 18 months.

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Collapsed Formula One Sponsorship Deal Triggers High Court Row

Published on: 24 April 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Sponsorship deals are commonplace in the sporting world and are underpinned by trade mark licensing agreements. In one important High Court case, a judge has analysed one such agreement by which a sports car manufacturer allowed the use of its name by a financially troubled Formula One racing team.

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£160 Million Public Contract ‘Unworkable’ Says High Court

Published on: 21 January 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Brevity is usually to be preferred when drafting commercial agreements and an excess of verbosity can often be the source of intractable disputes. That was certainly so in the case of a £160 million public contract which contained a string of unworkable clauses despite running to several lever arch files.

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London Arbitrators Must Tackle Red Square Hotel Dispute

Published on: 10 January 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Commercial arbitrators are often called upon to address thorny jurisdictional issues where all the parties to a dispute, and its subject matter, have nothing at all to do with the UK. That was certainly so in one case involving a lucrative project to redevelop a hotel near Moscow’s Red Square.

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Asbestos Exclusion Clause Thwarts Professional Negligence Claim

Published on: 05 January 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

The law assumes that experienced businesspeople know what they are doing when it comes to allocating risk. In a case which exemplified that position, the High Court found that a development consortium accepted the risk of asbestos contamination interfering with its plans, even if that eventuality arose through negligence.

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Dealing With a Foreign Government? Watch Out for State Immunity!

Published on: 22 December 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Commercial dealings with foreign governments can be lucrative and offer a welcome degree of financial security – but thorny issues of state immunity can arise when contracts do not run smoothly. Exactly that happened in one case in which the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (KRG) claimed immunity against enforcement of a $100 million arbitration award.

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Involved in a Contract Dispute? Compromise is King!

Published on: 14 December 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Litigating breach of contract disputes is costly and, with outcomes never predictable, compromise on the basis of legal advice is very often the better course. In one case which proved the point, sub-contractors involved in a gas pipeline project sued for £10 million but ended up having to repay almost £2.5 million.

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Involved in a Contract Dispute? Doing Nothing Is Not an Option!

Published on: 03 December 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Involved in a Contract Dispute? Doing Nothing Is Not an Option!

It is sadly true that not every building project runs smoothly but, if the worst happens, it is no good sitting on your hands and hoping that the problem will go away.

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Third Party Litigation Funder’s £1.94 Million Success Fee Recoverable

Published on: 09 October 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Litigation is expensive and there is sometimes no option but for those involved to rely on third party funding that is available in the marketplace. In a test case concerning such an arrangement, the High Court ruled that a 300 per cent success fee charged by one such funder was recoverable in the context of a commercial arbitration.

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Businessman Hit by Improperly Obtained Freezing Orders Wins Huge Payout

Published on: 11 September 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Asset freezing orders are an essential tool in commercial litigation, but they can have devastating consequences for those targeted and damages are generally payable if they are improperly obtained. The point was strikingly underlined by one High Court case involving a businessman who won tens of millions of dollars in compensation despite his own dishonest conduct.

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Insurance Act 2015 Now In Force

Published on: 11 August 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Insurance Act 2015 Now In Force

The Insurance Act 2015 came into force today. In practical terms, the effect of the Act is to reduce the number of 'technical' defences that can be used by insurance companies to avoid paying out on claims.

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Fire Damaged $12 Million Ship a Total Loss

Published on: 18 July 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Insurance disputes in respect of whether a vehicle is or is not a write-off following an accident are sadly familiar to thousands of motorists. However, one High Court case involving a catastrophic fire on board a ship with an insured value of $12 million showed that such disagreements are not confined to dry land.

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English Judge Rules on £67 Million Latvian Bank Fraud

Published on: 08 June 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

English Judge Rules on £67 Million Latvian Bank Fraud

Commercial judges in London are no strangers to dealing with the fall-out from fraud and corruption around the world. In one striking case, a judge found that a Russian businessman had ripped off a Latvian bank, of which he was formerly the majority owner, to the tune of about £67 million.

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Logistics Company Accuses Its Own Ex-Bosses of $160 Million Frauds

Published on: 19 May 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Those at the helm of companies are obliged by law to put their own interests second to those of shareholders. In one case that highlighted the point, a logistics company had launched proceedings against its own former chairman, chief executive and finance director, accusing them of perpetrating $160 million frauds.

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Judicial Power to Overturn Arbitration Awards is ‘Only a Long Stop’

Published on: 09 May 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Commercial arbitrators have to deal with many very bitter disputes and their rulings, although supposed to be final, are not always greeted with equanimity. In one case, however, the High Court has emphasised that its power to overturn arbitration awards is intended to operate only as a long-stop in extreme cases.

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Riot Damage - Consequential Losses Not Recoverable

Published on: 25 April 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Riot Damage - Consequential Losses Not Recoverable

The London riots of 2011 are now but a dim memory for most people, but this week a significant legal decision was reached by the Supreme Court which has significance for any business whose premises are subject to riot damage.

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Atlantic No Barrier to Enforcement of $2 Million Judgment Debt

Published on: 27 January 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Cooperation between legal systems throughout the civilised world is the bedrock of international law. In one case which proved the point, the Atlantic proved no barrier to High Court enforcement of an American judge’s ruling in a multi-million-pound contract dispute.

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Feeling Under Pressure to Grant Credit to a Client? Be Careful!

Published on: 12 January 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Businesses often feel under commercial pressure to grant credit to important clients but one High Court case showed how easy it is for such debts to get out of control. A commodities trading company had agreed to defer payment of part of a favoured customer’s bills but ended up being owed almost $5.3 million.

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Corporate Jet Grounded by Intractable Contract Dispute

Published on: 05 January 2016 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Corporate Jet Grounded by Intractable Contract Dispute

Contract disputes can sometimes become so intractable that litigation is the only way of achieving finality. In one case, positions became so entrenched that a corporate jet, which lay at the heart of the disagreement, had been grounded for so long that its owner no longer wanted anything more to do with it.

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Insurance Companies Wrangle Over Train Crash Liabilities

Published on: 27 December 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Few industries are more international than insurance and disputes inevitably arise as to the country where disagreements should be resolved. However, one case concerning a catastrophic train crash in America revealed that, at least within Europe, clear rules apply.

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Franchise Agreement Termination Triggers Trade War

Published on: 16 December 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Franchise Agreement Termination Triggers Trade War

The acrimonious termination of commercial contracts can lead to outbreaks of fierce competition and mutual bad-mouthing which affect customers and enter the public domain. That was certainly the case following the end of a franchise agreement in the postal franking machines market.

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Oops! ‘UK Law’ and ‘UK Courts’ Do Not Exist!

Published on: 08 December 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Oops! ‘UK Law’ and ‘UK Courts’ Do Not Exist!

Contract drafting is an art which should only be undertaken by specialists. The truth of that statement was underlined by a case in which an arbitration clause in a major commercial contract contained references to non-existent ‘UK law’ and ‘UK courts’ as if Britain’s three separate legal systems were one and the same.

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Cross-Border Commercial Disputes – The Risk of Conflicting Decisions

Published on: 25 November 2015 | in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Litigation Updates | News and Updates

Cross-Border Commercial Disputes – The Risk of Conflicting Decisions

Cross-border commercial disputes can often give rise to a risk that conflicting judicial decisions will be reached in different countries under different laws. However, a High Court ruling has underlined that, at least within the European Union (EU), rules are in place to prevent that happening.

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