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Commercial Disputes Weekly – Issue 428 September 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.


"[The SAAMCO principle] is not a rigid rule of law but … "simply a tool" for determining the loss flowing from the negligently wrong information as opposed to the loss flowing from entering into the transaction at all."Assetco Plc v Grant Thornton UK LLP

Emphasising the importance of carefully following the requirements of the Scheme for Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Regulations 1998, the Technology and Construction Court has held that, where a request for appointment of an adjudicator had been made before the notice of adjudication had been given, the adjudicator lacked jurisdiction, even though the notice of adjudication had been given on the same day.
Lane End Developments Construction Limited v Kingstone Civil Engineering Limited

Preliminary issues
An agreement to deal with an issue by way of a preliminary issues trial will normally be an agreement to a procedural step with no contractual force, but in an interesting and unusual case concerning the construction of two semi-submersible drilling rigs, the Commercial Court has rejected arguments that an arbitral tribunal erred in holding that the parties had entered into a binding and legally enforceable agreement that, following the preliminary issues trial, the claimant would not make further or different claims against the defendant.
Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Company Limited v Songa Offshore Equinox Limited & Anr

Professional negligence
In a significant case for auditors, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that the “SAAMCO principle” can be applied to determine whether particular losses come within the scope of an auditor’s duty when signing an unqualified audit report.  The decision also emphasises that before credit is given to a defendant for benefits received by the claimant, the benefit must be shown to have been legally caused by the breach of duty.
Assetco Plc v Grant Thornton UK LLP

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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