Court of Appeal clarifies when disputes re formation/validity of contract containing arbitration clause may fall to be determined by the courts

A recent Court of Appeal decision provides useful guidance on disputes about the validity of the underlying contract where that contract contains an arbitration clause. The decision clarifies the important principle of separability, under which an arbitration agreement is treated as a contract which is separate from the main contract of which it forms part: … Read more

Anti-suit injunction granted restraining proceedings in an EU member state

The Commercial Court has granted an anti-suit injunction restraining Belgian proceedings brought in breach of an exclusive English jurisdiction clause: Ebury Partners Belgium SA/NV v Technical Touch BV, Jan Berthels [2022] EWHC 2927 (Comm). This appears to be one of the first cases post-Brexit in which an anti-suit injunction has been granted by an English … Read more

Commercial litigation podcast series – Episode 16: General update

In this 16th episode of our series of commercial litigation update podcasts, we look at a couple of recent decisions relating to privilege, two interesting Court of Appeal decisions on good faith and force majeure respectively, and finally we discuss the recent Supreme Court decision in the BTI v Sequana case, which clarifies when directors … Read more

Contractual duties of good faith: Court of Appeal confirms context is king

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal against a finding that the majority shareholders of a company had engaged in unfairly prejudicial conduct by removing from office two directors with minority interests, in a case which provides important clarification around the scope and construction of contractual provisions obliging the parties to act in good … Read more

Force majeure: Court of Appeal finds party was required to accept non-contractual performance in exercising reasonable endeavours to “overcome” force majeure event

The Court of Appeal has held, by a majority, that a shipowner was not entitled to rely on a force majeure clause in a shipping contract where its charterer’s parent company became subject to US sanctions: MUR Shipping BV v RTI Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 1406. The decision turned on the wording of the force … Read more

Court of Appeal upholds summary judgment for rent accrued during Covid closures of commercial premises, rejecting arguments based on implied terms and “failure of basis”

The Court of Appeal has dismissed appeals against the grant of summary judgment to commercial landlords for payment of accrued rent in two cases where the relevant premises (in each case operated as cinemas) had to be closed for extended periods due to Covid restrictions: Bank of New York Mellon (International) Ltd v Cine-UK Ltd; … Read more