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Commercial Disputes Weekly – Issue 3918 August 2020

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BITE SIZE KNOW HOW FROM THE ENGLISH COURTS

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.

Disclosure
In an interesting decision concerning the jurisdiction to obtain information from a judgment debtor, the London Circuit Commercial Court has held that an examination of a debtor was a hearing in public for the purposes of CPR 31.22, and so the usual prohibition on use of documents for purposes other than the proceedings in which they are disclosed did not apply to documents read to or by the court or referred to in that hearing. However, the Deputy Master made clear that his decision was limited to the case before him, given the potentially wider ramifications of the issue.
Slade v Abbhi

"A court hearing is a formal public process which deserves respect, in which the Court is endeavouring with the assistance of the parties to arrive at important decisions on contested matters. It is not a live-streamed event unless the Court decides that it is both lawful and appropriate to make it such."Gubarev & Anr v Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd & Anr

Dispute resolution clauses
The Commercial Court has emphasised the importance of complying with dispute resolution provisions, holding that although a claimant was entitled to summary judgment pursuant to a settlement agreement in respect of outstanding sums due under a sale contract, claims relating to demurrage had to be referred to expert determination rather than proceeding straight to litigation.
HC Trading Malta Limited v Savannah Cement Limited

Jurisdiction
The Commercial Court has concluded that where a claimant required permission to serve proceedings out of the jurisdiction, even where the defendant had not sought to challenge that order but instead sought a stay of the proceedings on forum non conveniens grounds, the burden rested on the claimant to show that England was clearly the forum in which the case may be tried more suitably for the interests of all the parties and the ends of justice.
Traxys Europe SA v Sodexmines Nigeria Ltd

Remote hearings
The use of technology to broadcast remote hearings may have increased in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, but in a case concerning a high profile libel trial the Divisional Court has emphasised that such hearings should nevertheless be conducted in a way that is as close as possible to the pre-pandemic norm and has warned that orders concerning live video and audio transmission must be strictly complied with.
Gubarev & Anr v Orbis Business Intelligence Limited & Anr

FOR MORE INFORMATION

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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