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Commercial Disputes Weekly – Issue 3628 July 2020

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BITE SIZE KNOW HOW FROM THE ENGLISH COURTS

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Contempt
In the course of a long running and acrimonious dispute between two Russian oligarchs, the Commercial Court has emphasised that when seeking an order that a party be sanctioned for alleged contempt, the applicant should act dispassionately, presenting the facts fairly and with balance, to assist the court to make a fair “quasi-criminal” judgment.  In this case the aggressive, partisan presentation of the application had led the judge to conclude that it was an abuse of the process of the court, and in any event the defendant was not in contempt.
Navigator Equities Limited & Anr v Deripaska

"Narrative explanations and formulae may disguise (or, at least, not make clear) their consequences when applied to various factual situations.  The whole point of the “Worked Examples” is to demonstrate with clarity the consequences of the formulae…"Altera Voyageur Production Ltd v Premier Oil E&P Ltd

Contract
The Commercial Court has demonstrated the integral role that worked examples can play in the interpretation of a contract, holding that where worked examples of a complex formula for the calculation of hire contained an additional step not set out in the narrative description of the formula, the worked examples should be preferred.
Altera Voyageur Production Ltd v Premier Oil E&P Ltd

Maritime
In two recent cases concerning claims for misdelivery without production of bills of lading, the Commercial Court has provided helpful guidance on when an extension of time for commencing arbitration may be granted in circumstances where claims had not been brought against the correct parties within the one year time bar under the Hague Rules.  Emphasising the difficulties of satisfying the test, in the first case an extension was refused on the basis that the bill holder’s mistake as to the identity of the carrier was not outside the reasonable contemplation of the parties and a considerable portion of the causative burden for the error lay with the bill holder.  However, in the second case an extension was deemed appropriate, since the impression given by the other side was a significant factor in the bill holder missing the time bar against the carrier.
Fimbank Plc v KCH Shipping Co Ltd and National Bank of Fujairah (Dubai Branch) v Times Trading Corp

For more on recent maritime disputes, see our latest Maritime Disputes Newsletter.

Security for costs
The High Court has rejected the suggestion that, in order to obtain a higher level of security for costs, a defendant need only show that there is a “real” or “reasonable” possibility that they will be awarded indemnity costs.  Instead, an indemnity costs order had to be a significant possibility.
Phones 4u Ltd v EE Ltd & Or

FOR MORE INFORMATION

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