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Wood v Commercial First Business (2021) – Court shines a light on secret commissions

Wood v Commercial First Business Ltd & Others, and Business Mortgage Finance 4 plc v Pengelly [2021] EWCA Civ 471 Summary The Court of Appeal held that it is not necessary to have a fiduciary duty in secret commission cases. In two cases that went together to the Court of Appeal, three key issues surrounding […]

Westdeutsche v Islington (1996) – Trust issues in deciding repayment after an ultra vires ruling

Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale v Islington London Borough Council [1996] UKHL 12 Summary A 10-year interest rate swap between a bank and a local council, in which the bank paid an upfront payment of £2.5 million that was to be repaid in instalments, was deemed ultra vires and void. The Council was ordered to repay the […]

Shanghai Shipyard v Reignwood (2021) – Court of Appeal cuts adrift attempt to avoid guaranteed payment

Shanghai Shipyard Co. Ltd v Reignwood International Investment [2021] EWCA Civ 1147 Summary A recent unanimous decision by the Court of Appeal overturned previous rulings on two preliminary issues regarding the type of guarantee and the obligation of the buyer to pay the last instalment of a shipbuilding contract that they had not previously paid. […]

SFM v Christ the King College (2021) – A lesson in the counter-restitution principle

School Facility Management Ltd & Others v The Governing Body of Christ the King College [2021] EWCA Civ 1053 Summary The governing body of a school, whose contract with a construction company was previously found to be ultra vires and void, unsuccessfully appealed to claim restitution for overpayments on a school building. The case and […]

Morgan Grenfell v Welwyn Hatfield (1995) – No throw of the dice on swaps as wagering contracts

Morgan Grenfell & Co Ltd v Welwyn Hatfield District Council [1995] 1 All ER 1 Summary In an important case for capacity in derivatives law, an interest rate swap agreement between a district council and bank was found not to be a wagering contract under English law.  This was an important test case for UK […]

MonSolar v Woden Park (2021) – Casting sunlight on absurd formulae

MonSolar IQ Ltd v Woden Park Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 961 Summary An appeal by a Landlord in the Court of Appeal was dismissed, on the grounds that an indexation clause in a rent review – when read literally – produced an “arbitrary and irrational” result, did not have an intentional exponential increase due to […]

Lomas v Firth Rixson (2012) – Section 2(a)(iii) provisions clarified as…the opposite of NY law

Lomas & Others v JFB Firth Rixson Inc & Others [2012] EWCA Civ 419 Summary Four appeals were jointly heard in a single hearing concerning Events of Default under 1992 ISDA Master Agreements between Lomas and four other differing parties, regarding the efficacy of conditions in the standard Master Agreement. The case offered definitive answers […]

Kleinwort Benson v Birmingham (1996) – A counterparty’s good hedging is not a defence against paying them

Kleinwort Benson Ltd v Birmingham City Council [1996] 4 All ER 733 Summary In an unjust enrichment case, there was no defence of passing on available for a local authority to use against an unjust enrichment claim, showing to what extent enrichment of the defendant must be at the expense of the claimant. The judgment […]

Haugesund v DEPFA (2010) – From Hammersmith to Haugesund, local authority swaps are still ultra vires

Haugesund Kommune & Another v DEPFA ACS Bank & Another [2010] EWCA Civ 579 3103 (Comm) Summary Norwegian municipalities, Haugesund and Narvik Kommunes, had no change of position defence to restitution claims by a bank, DEPFA ACS Bank, with whom they had entered swap contracts with that were later found to be ultra vires and […]

Hazell v Hammersmith & Fulham (1992) – Landmark case that found local authority swaps to be ultra vires

Hazell v Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council [1992] 2 A.C. 1 Summary A local council – Hammersmith and Fulham LBC – carried out substantial speculative transactions over a number of years, under the guise of “debt management”. When interest rates were set to rise and the local council were going to lose a lot […]

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