Cases


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Geneva Trust Company (GTC) SA v IDF & Anr (Re Stingray Trust) (judgment 21/12/20)

Area of Law: Private Client Trusts and Probate

Dakis Hagen QC appeared for the first defendant in Geneva Trust Company (GTC) SA v IDF & Anr (21/12/2020) FSD 248 OF 2017 (IKJ) in her successful application for a stay of a claim in the Cayman Islands seeking declarations as to the validity of a Cayman Islands trust which trust was already being impugned by her in ongoing litigation in Italy.  The application was met in part by the argument that the Cayman court had an exclusive statutory jurisdiction to determine such matters under s. 90 of the Cayman Trusts Law (which, it was said, in that context abrogated the power to stay on grounds of forum non conveniens);  the court noted that such had been the orthodox view historically based on authorities stretching back 20 years. 

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HMRC v IGE USA Investments [2020] EWHC 2121 (Ch)

Area of Law: Civil Fraud

A claim arising from the Revenue’s contention that it has rescinded tax settlements with the UK Subgroup of the US conglomerate worth upwards of £650m. In this interim decision Zacaroli J granted the Claimant’s permission to amend the claim to allege fraud, and in so doing held that the claim was not subject to a 6-year limitation period by analogy with the tort of deceit (which decision is currently on appeal to the Court of Appeal).

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SPI North Ltd v Swiss Post International (UK) Ltd [2020] EWHC 3268 (Ch)

Area of Law: Commercial Litigation

David Drake acted for the successful defendants in SPI North Ltd v Swiss Post International (UK) Ltd [2020] EWHC 3268 (Ch), where the court had to consider the practical limits to the permission, frequently given to respondents to an amendment application, to make "consequential" amendments to their own responsive statement of case. 

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Secretary of State for Health v Servier Laboratories Ltd [2020] 3 WLR 1207

Area of Law: Competition Law and State Aid

David Drake appeared for the successful respondents in the Supreme Court hearing Secretary of State for Health v Servier Laboratories Ltd [2020] 3 WLR 1207, where it was held that the EU law principle of absolute res judicata arising from decisions of the European Courts annulling acts of EU institutions could not be applied in a legal context detached from the annulling judgment.

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Re Keeping Kids Company; Official Receiver v Atkinson [2020] EWHC 2839 (Ch)

Area of Law: Company

These are believed to be the first ever proceedings for disqualification of charity trustees as company directors. This interlocutory decision concerned whether the Official Receiver could advance at trial case of breach of duty based on the existing evidence but not previously advanced as such. Falk J held this course was not open to the Official Receiver.

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Lucas v Gatward [2020] EWHC 3040 (Ch)

Please click here to view the judgment.

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Bidzina Ivanishvili v Credit Suisse Life (Bermuda) [2020] CA (Bda) 13 Civ

Area of Law: Commercial Litigation

The Bermuda Court of Appeal (Sir Christopher Clarke, Gloster and Smellie J) has dismissed Credit Suisse Life’s appeal against wide ranging disclosure orders (save for a short separate point on waiver of privilege) granted by Hargun CJ in February 2020.

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Basin Supply Corporation v (1) Rouge LLC (2) Claude Barret [2018] CFI 057

Area of Law: International and Offshore

James Weale (instructed by Dentons) acted for the successful claimant in a claim to enforce the terms of a promissory note and a related guarantee. This followed James’ successful dismissal of a jurisdiction challenge submitted to the JJC. H.E. Justice Ali Al Madhani held that an express choice of law agreement in a negotiable instrument was valid and enforceable (para 37). Moreover, the Court rejected the Second Defendant’s case that the guarantee was unenforceable by reason of a material variation pursuant to the rule in Holme v Brunskill (1871) 3 Q.B.D. 495 (paras 48-59). James also obtained an order for costs to be assessed on the indemnity basis (para 65).

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Loveridge v Loveridge [2020] EWCA Civ 1104

Area of Law: Partnership and LLP

Lance Ashworth QC and Dan McCourt Fritz acted for the successful Appellants in Loveridge v. Loveridge [2020] EWCA Civ 1104 overturning injunctions in an unfair prejudice petition and in partnership proceedings which had granted the running of the companies and partnerships to a minority shareholder and partner.  The Court of Appeal effectively put the majority back in charge.  Both the petition and the partnership proceedings continue and will come on for trial in 2022.

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Glover v Barker [2020] EWCA Civ 1112

Area of Law: Private Client Trusts and Probate

In a decision of general importance for all civil litigators, the Court of Appeal confirmed the extent of the personal liability of a litigation friend for adverse costs.  The litigation friend was unsuccessful in the litigation, but was not liable for the successful parties’ costs.  The Court was exercising a discretion and had to have regard to the particular circumstances.  A claimant’s litigation friend should ordinarily bear the costs of successful defendants.   However, lack of success would not of itself generally make it just to make an adverse costs order against a defendant's litigation friend.  Factors which might justify such an order included bad faith, improper or unreasonable behaviour and prospect of personal benefit.  The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal from Morgan J’s decision.

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Moutreuil v (1) Andreewitch (2) Pier Investment Company Ltd [2020] EWHC 2068 (Fam)

Area of Law: Company

James Weale acted for the successful claimant in a claim to the beneficial ownership of 100% of the shares in company which held various property assets including a valuable property in Chelsea. In his judgment, Mr Justice Cobb rejected the First Defendant’s case that the shares had been transferred into the name of his partner as mere nominee. James also obtained an order for costs to be assessed on the indemnity basis. Following initial reporting restrictions, the judgment was published on 3 September 2020.

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Ivanishvili v Credit Suisse Trust [2020] SGCA 62

Area of Law: Private Client Trusts and Probate

The Singapore Court of Appeal has dismissed Credit Suisse Trust’s jurisdiction challenge in breach of trust proceedings brought by the beneficiaries of a Singapore Trust, bringing an end to a long-running jurisdiction battle. The Court allowed the Claimants’ appeal on the grounds that Singapore was the most appropriate forum to determine the breach of trust claims against the trustee, and laid down important guidance as to the effect of forum for administration clauses in trust deeds. The Court of Appeal held that the forum for administration clause in the trust deed functioned as a jurisdiction clause, but that it did not govern all proceedings: it designated the jurisdiction that had supervisory jurisdiction over the trust, rather than dictating the venue for the resolution of contentious disputes. Jonathan Adkin QC and Sophie Holcombe act for the Claimants, instructed by Signature Litigation LLP, together with Drew & Napier (Singapore). The full Judgment can be found here.

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Phoenix v Phoenix [2020] EWHC 1409 (Ch)

Area of Law: Private Client Trusts and Probate

Jonathan Fowles acted for the successful claimant in a claim to enforce a testamentary option. The case involved arguments about the construction of a will and whether in the circumstances all executors needed to be individually served with the relevant option notice. The case is also notable for its approach to an award of statutory interest.

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Nuffield Health v London Borough of Merton

Area of Law: Charities

Jonathan Fowles acted with Cain Ormondroyd (Francis Taylor Building) for Merton Council in defending a claim to establish charitable exemption from non-domestic rates for one of Nuffield Health’s fitness and wellbeing centres. The claim succeeded, but the Court of Appeal has given Merton permission to appeal. The case raises important issues about the charitable exemption and the public benefit test in charity law.

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Nimat Halal Food Ltd & Anor v Patel & Anor [2020] EWHC 734 (Ch)

Area of Law: Insolvency

Chief ICC Judge Briggs declined to order costs against an administrator despite the debtor’s successful appeal against the administrator’s rejection of his proof of debt.  The judgment makes clear that administrators who act neutrally will not be visited with personal costs liability absent ‘special circumstances’ or ‘good reason’, even if the court takes a different view on the proof of debt.   By contrast, an office holder who initiates unsuccessful proceedings risks personal liability.  The case offers useful guidance in an important area where there is little authority.

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Shanghai Shipyard Co Ltd v Reignwood International Investment (Group) Company Ltd [2020] EWHC 803 (Comm)

Area of Law: Banking and Financial Services

The Commercial Court held that a parent company guarantee of the final instalment under a shipbuilding contract was not a demand bond but a true “see to it” guarantee, under which the guarantor did not have to pay unless an arbitration award was first made against the owner.  The case has attracted significant interest in the shipbuilding industry, and permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal has been granted.

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Taylor v Rhino Overseas Inc. [2020] EWCA Civ 353

Area of Law: Commercial Litigation

Lance Ashworth QC and Dan McCourt Fritz represented the Respondents in an appeal from the decision of Julia Dias QC as a High Court Judge [2019] EWHC 1951 (Ch).  The Court of Appeal held that the Judge had been right to say that agency did not extend to allow the party to enter into the contract as agent for an undisclosed principal. Further, it upheld the Judge’s findings that the relevant agent was not, in any event, intended to be a party to the contract.  Appeal was dismissed.

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Christoforou v Christoforou [2020] EWHC 1196 (Ch)

Area of Law: Civil Fraud

In Christoforou v Christoforou [2020] EWHC 1196 (Ch) the High Court struck out allegations of dishonesty, fraud, and illegality from an Amended Defence and excluded those allegations from consideration (and cross-examination) at trial.  Giving judgment HH Judge Stephen Eyre QC (sitting as a High Court Judge) found that the allegations amounted to similar fact of evidence but that they were of “peripheral” value to the Claimant’s claim that a London property is held on trust for him pursuant to a common intention constructive trust. Allowing the allegations to remain, he held, would have greatly increased the cost, and risked an adjournment, of the trial. Daniel Lightman QC and Stephanie Thompson represent the Claimant. The trial is due to take place in July 2020.

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