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CONTRACT: Nohow or contrariwise

12 April 2017  

Paul Brehony and William Gow consider the pendulum of case law in contractual interpretation

In Investors Compensation Scheme Ltd v West Bromwich Building Society [1997], Leggatt LJ cited Alice Through the Looking Glass when rejecting the interpretation adopted by the first instance court. He said that its interpretation was ‘not an available meaning of the words’ and was ‘unimpressed by the alleged commercial nonsense of the alternative construction’. Lord Hoffman took a different view in the House of Lords. ‘I will say at once that I prefer the approach of the learned judge’, he said, in support of the first instance analysis. He asserted that ‘almost all the old intellectual baggage of “legal” interpretation has been discarded’ and set out the following five principles of contractual interpretation:

Additional Info

  • Case(s) Referenced:

    Arnold v Britton & ors [2015] UKSC 36

    Attorney General of Belize & ors v Belize Telecom Ltd & anor [2009] UKPC 10

    Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd v Sumitomo Corporation [2016] EWHC 1909 (Comm)

    Investors Compensation Scheme Ltd v West Bromwich Building Society & ors [1997] UKHL 28

    Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Ltd (In Special Liquidation) v Camden Market Holdings Corp & ors [2017] EWCA Civ 7

    Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (in administration) v ExxonMobil Financial Services BV [2016] EWHC 2699 (Comm)

    Marks & Spencer plc v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Company (Jersey) Ltd & anor [2015] UKSC 72

    Millen v Karen Millen Fashions Ltd & anor [2016] EWHC 2104 (Ch)

    Nobahar-Cookson & ors v The Hut Group Ltd [2016] EWCA Civ 128

    Philips Electronique Grand Public SA v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd [1995] EMLR 472

    Prophet plc v Huggett [2014] EWCA Civ 1013

    Reda & anor v Flag Ltd [2002] UKPC 38

    Rush Hair Ltd v Gibson-Forbes & anor [2016] EWHC 2589 (QB)

    Sycamore Bidco Ltd v Breslin & anor [2012] EWHC 3443 (Ch)