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Commercial Disputes Weekly – Issue 3323 June 2020


We appreciate that our clients, partners and friends are currently facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Click here for a message from our Managing Partners, and here for all of our latest updates and articles on the subject. If you have any questions or require support, please do not hesitate to speak to your usual contact at WFW.

Emphasising the generous approach that the English courts take to the question of whether a dispute is arbitrable or not, the Court of Appeal has held that a claim under the Companies Act 2006 relating to the effect of a company’s restoration to the Register of Companies was susceptible to arbitration.
Bridgehouse (Bradford No.2) Ltd v BAE Systems Plc

"In the context of construction disputes adjudication has, as was always intended, become a mainstream method of ADR, leading to the speedy, cost effective and final resolution of most of the many disputes that are referred to adjudication."Bresco Electrical Services Ltd (in liquidation) v Michael J Lonsdale (Electrical) Ltd

Where a State had been found to have been bound by an arbitration clause in relation to claims against a P&I Club pursuant to the conditional benefit principle, the Commercial Court has held it could not subsequently claim immunity from suit under the State Immunity Act 1978 in relation to claims brought by the insurer for breach of the arbitration clause.
The London Steam-Ship Owners’ Mutual Insurance Association Limited v The Kingdom of Spain (MT “Prestige”) 

In a very important case for the construction industry the UK Supreme Court has held that the insolvency regime and the statutory adjudication regime are not incompatible, and so a company in liquidation could refer a dispute to adjudication, notwithstanding the existence of cross-claims and the rules regarding set-off in an insolvency.  The Supreme Court also rejected the Court of Appeal’s arguments that such an adjudication would be an exercise in futility.
Bresco Electrical Services Ltd (in liquidation) v Michael J Lonsdale (Electrical) Ltd

The High Court has helpfully confirmed that emailing a scanned copy of a party’s signature on an identified document to the other side will, subject to any contrary context, indicate an intention to be bound by the terms of that document.  In the current age of instant communication it was not realistic to suggest that greater formality, such as passing across the complete document with an original signature, was required.
Umrish Ltd & Ors v Gill

Emphasising the importance of taking particular care when referring to legal advice in evidence, the Commercial Court has held that determining whether legal professional privilege has been waived is an acutely fact sensitive exercise, which involves more than just mechanistically determining whether reference is made to the content of the advice or simply the effect of the advice.
PCP Capital Partners LLP & Anr v Barclays Bank Plc


Should you wish to discuss any of these cases in further detail, please speak with a member of our London dispute resolution team below, or your regular contact at Watson Farley & Williams:

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