Wed10182017

Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Watson, Farley & Williams

Watson, Farley & Williams

Andrew Hutcheon and Sam Prentki investigate the impact of Brexit and recent case law on the ‘Italian Torpedo’

Prior to the recasting of the Brussels I Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) 44/2001), readers will be familiar with the litigation tactic known as the ‘Italian Torpedo’. The phrase aptly describes the strategy by which a recalcitrant defendant, who had agreed (via an exclusive jurisdiction clause) to determine disputes in the courts of a particular member state, would subvert the agreed choice of jurisdiction clause by commencing proceedings in a court of a different EU member state. This was possible because of the lis pendens rules (from ‘lis alibi pendens’ – suit pending elsewhere) that concern cases in more than one EU member state involving the same cause of action. The EU’s lis pendens rules were found in Art 27 of the Brussels I Regulation and are now contained in Art 29 of the Brussels I Regulation (Recast): Council Regulation (EU) 1215/2012, which came into force in January 2015 (the Recast Regulation). Where the courts of a member state were first seised, any other member state would have to stay subsequent proceedings before them pending resolution in the first-seised courts. This was so under the Brussels I Regulation even if the governing agreement between the parties contained an exclusive jurisdiction clause in favour of the second-seised state (the ‘first-in-time’ rule).

Rebecca Williams and David Wright examine a recent Supreme Court judgment

The very recent judgment (29 March 2017) of the UK Supreme Court in Wood v Capita Insurance Services Ltd [2017] is an important clarification of the English courts’ approach to the interpretation of the meaning of words in a contract.

Rebecca Williams and David Wright assess the impact of a decision on contractual obligations

The recent decision of the Technology and Construction Court in the case of Fluor Ltd v Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Ltd [2016] contains important guidance on fitness-for-purpose obligations, particularly in relation to the offshore wind energy generation industry. The judgment of Edwards-Stuart J should also give parties careful pause for thought when considering entering into agreements to waive their rights to future claims.

Angharad Harris explores ways for employers to deal with vexatious litigants, such as job applicants simply seeking a discrimination award

The term ‘vexatious litigant’ is bandied around in the context of employment tribunal claims. Indeed, while the government did not explicitly say that it intended the introduction of tribunal fees in 2013 to deter vexatious claims, this was referred to in the consultation and ministers have subsequently claimed that fees have had this effect. It has, however, always been rare for employers and their advisers to have to deal with a genuinely vexatious litigant – as opposed to one whose claim is simply weak or unmeritorious. The cases discussed below consider what makes a claimant ‘vexatious’, what the difficulties are for employers and their advisers when they are faced with a serial litigant and what tools are available to use in these circumstances.

Andrew Savage and Andrew Waters consider the recent Court of Appeal decision in Standard Chartered Bank v Ceylon Petroleum Corporation

The Court of Appeal’s decision in Standard Chartered Bank v Ceylon Petroleum Corporation [2012] is the latest in a series of decisions concerning capacity in the context of derivative contracts that stretches back to the early 1990s and the House of Lords’ well-known decision in Hazell v Hammersmith and Fulham LBC [1992].

Robert Platt and Leah Alpren-Waterman discuss damages-based agreements

In April 2013, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (the Act) will come into force, ushering in a new era in the litigation funding landscape. Although the chief purpose of the Act (and the recommendations for the reform of civil litigation funding made by Jackson LJ lying behind it) are to reduce the costs of civil litigation, particularly in relation to personal injury claims, the reforms will nevertheless have a significant impact on other types of civil litigation, including commercial claims.