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Commercial Disputes Weekly – Issue 7418 May 2021

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BITE SIZE KNOW HOW FROM THE ENGLISH COURTS

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"Claimants seeking damages for fraudulent misrepresentation can be compensated for making a bad bargain, even if they knew or ought to have known about defects in what they were buying before they entered into the transaction."Glossop Cartons and Print Limited & Anr v Contact (Print and Packaging) Limited & Ors

Claims
The Commercial Court has allowed a claimant to amend a claim for breach of a long-term contract of affreightment, rejecting the defendant’s arguments that the claim had originally been advanced on a false factual basis and was a dishonest attempt to inflate the claims.  The court commented that while the original claim for loss of profits had been found to be misconceived, it could not be said that this was an exceptional case where the claimant’s conduct was so serious it would be an affront to the court to permit it to continue to prosecute the claim.
Palmali Shipping SA v Litasco SA 

Contract
While it is vital that parties ensure compliance with the express requirements of notice provisions, the Court of Appeal has overturned a decision that a notice served in relation to a claim under a tax warranty was invalid, commenting that the court should be slow to conclude that a notice which required information to be stated “in reasonable detail” was non-compliant on the basis that it failed to spell out what both parties already knew.
Dodika Ltd & Ors v United Luck Group Holdings Ltd

Damages
The Court of Appeal has emphasised that, where a claimant has been induced to buy property by fraudulent misrepresentations, damages for direct loss will normally be determined by deducting the actual value of the assets purchased at the relevant date from the price paid.  It will be irrelevant what miscalculations the claimant may have made in entering into the transaction, and what matters they may have “factored in” to their calculation of the purchase price.
Glossop Cartons and Print Limited & Anr v Contact (Print and Packaging) Limited & Ors

Judgments
In an unusual case involving a very significant delay in judgment being handed down, the Court of Appeal has endorsed previous judicial comments that, in general, judgment should be delivered within three months of a hearing.  While delay alone will be insufficient to afford a ground for setting judgment aside, it is an important factor to take into account when considering the trial judge’s findings and treatment of the evidence, and in this case, in light of the delay, the Court was not satisfied the first instance decision was right and so the case was remitted to be re-tried by a different judge.
NatWest Markets Plc & Anr v Bilta (UK) Ltd (in liquidation) & Ors 

Open justice
Confirming that a journalist should be provided with a report referred to in a judgment which was six years old, the Commercial Court has commented that under the open justice principle the court has the power to allow access to documents referred to in open court which have been requested for a proper journalistic purpose, unless affording access is outweighed by the risk of harm.  While the principal purposes of the open justice principle include enabling public scrutiny of how courts decide cases and the policing of individual courts and judges, the principle will also be advanced by disclosure to a journalist in pursuit of a serious journalistic story of a document referred to in open court which may be germane to that story.
Goodley v The Hut Group Limited

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:

Andrew WardRebecca Williams
Ryland AshCharles Buss
Dev DesaiRobert Fidoe
Andrew HutcheonSarah Ellington
Mike Phillips
Theresa Mohammed

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