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Commercial Disputes Weekly – Issue 9012 October 2021

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BITE SIZE KNOW HOW FROM THE ENGLISH COURTS

"This form of estoppel by conduct is one which is approached by means of a broad, merits-based assessment, and is not constrained by strict rules."LA Micro Group (UK) Ltd v LA Micro Group Inc

Adjournment
Demonstrating that the adjournment of a trial whose date has already been fixed is a last resort, the High Court has refused an application to adjourn a damages inquiry relating to the infringement of design rights, noting that it remained possible to have a fair trial, and the desire to draw a line under the litigation and avoid the inevitable further costs of an adjournment weighed heavily against adjournment.
Original Beauty Technology Company Limited & Ors v G4K Fashion Limited & Ors

Estoppel by conduct
Emphasising that the key issue when determining whether an estoppel can arise from the conduct of a party in previous litigation is whether it is apparent that the earlier decision was obtained on the footing of, or because of the stance taken by the party in those earlier proceedings, the Court of Appeal has rejected arguments that a party was estopped from bringing a claim for declaratory relief because of a change of position concerning the ownership of certain shares, noting that it could not be said with any confidence that the party had won the earlier proceedings because of the position he had taken on the ownership of the shares.
LA Micro Group (UK) Ltd v LA Micro Group Inc

Relief from sanctions
The High Court has granted relief from sanctions in circumstances where a solicitor had failed to file a consent order in which the parties had agreed to stay the proceedings indefinitely.  Although the breach could not be regarded as trivial, the fact that the parties had agreed to the stay mitigated both its seriousness and significance.
Excotek Limited v City Air Express Ltd (in liquidation) & Anr

Shipbuilding
In an interesting dispute arising out of an agreement to design a new Cable Laying Vessel, the Commercial Court has found a buyer liable for breach of confidence and unlawful means conspiracy in making confidential design documents available to another designer, and indicated that exemplary damages may be available.
Salt Ship Design AS v Prysmian Powerlink SRL

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 DesaiMarcus Dodds
Andrew HutcheonRobert Fidoe
Mike Phillips

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