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Commercial Disputes Weekly – Issue 9226 October 2021

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BITE SIZE KNOW HOW FROM THE ENGLISH COURTS

"The purpose of the new Practice Direction is not to change the law as to the admissibility of evidence at trial…; rather it is to eradicate the improper use of witness statements as vehicles for narrative, commentary and argument."Mansion Place Limited v Fox Industrial Services Limited

Costs
Providing a reminder that, although costs will normally follow the event, the court is free to make some other order, a successful party’s costs of detailed assessment proceedings have been reduced after the bill of costs was found to have been overstated.
Milbrooke Construction Limited (in liquidation) v Jones

Governing law
In the context of a claim for personal injuries governed by foreign law, the Supreme Court has provided important guidance on when a claimant can rely on the default rule which treats English law as applicable in its own right where foreign law is not pleaded, and the presumption that in the absence of sufficient proof, foreign law will be taken to be the same as English law.
FS Cairo (Nile Plaza) LLC v Lady Brownlie (as dependant and executrix of Professor Sir Ian Brownlie)

Maritime
In an interesting case for the maritime sector, the Commercial Court has considered whether a letter of undertaking containing an Iranian sanctions clause was “reasonably satisfactory” security, and if so, whether it had to be accepted as soon as reasonably practical.
M/V Pacific Pearl Co Limited v Osios David Shipping Inc

Witness statements
The TCC has provided timely guidance on the application of the new rules on trial witness statements in the Business and Property Courts, explaining that while there is no prohibition on a non-solicitor taking a draft statement, it was inadvisable for another factual witness to do so in a case which turned on what two individuals said in a telephone conversation, and that if a party is concerned their opponent has not complied with the rules, the sensible course is to raise the issue and attempt to reach an agreement, but if that is not possible the assistance of the court should be sought at a time and in a manner which will not cause disruption to trial preparations.
Mansion Place Limited v Fox Industrial Services 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 DesaiMarcus Dodds
Andrew HutcheonRobert Fidoe
Mike Phillips

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