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Commercial Dispute Resolution

Landmark Chambers has a well established and growing practice in the field of commercial dispute resolution, particularly but by no means exclusively in the context of the development & infrastructure, energy, transport, real estate and healthcare sectors in which we are acknowledged as having market-leading sectoral expertise across the range of our practice areas.

Landmark’s barristers have been involved in many highly complex domestic commercial disputes in the Commercial Court, Chancery Division, Mercantile Court and Technology & Construction Court, often involving substantial factual and/or expert evidence. In addition, we have experience of litigation in the appellate courts concerning, for example, important issues relating to contractual interpretation.

In addition to litigation, we also provide advice and representation in commercial arbitrations, both in the UK and internationally, and investor-state arbitrations. Several of our barristers are Members or Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. A number of our senior silks sit as arbitrators in complex and substantial disputes.

Our commercial practice is international, including substantial cases in the last year in the courts of Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands as well as arbitration proceedings in Sweden, China and Kenya. Many of our barristers are Associate Members or Fellows of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators, Hong Kong being a jurisdiction with which we have particularly long-standing ties. For more information on our international work, please see the Landmark International website.

In addition to private law commercial disputes, we also undertake work in the related fields of economic sanctions, competition, procurement of public contracts and commercial judicial review.

A number of our barristers are members of COMBAR.

Examples of our recent commercial dispute resolution work include:

(i) UK cases

  • Greenland Group’s £multi-million Chancery Division litigation against Minerva concerning overage provisions in the £135m sale contract for the Ram Brewery Site in Wandsworth: Minerva (Wandsworth) Ltd v Greenland Ram (London) Ltd [2017] EWHC 1457 (Ch).
  • Acting for a care services provider in an expert determination in front of a former Supreme Court Justice regarding £multi-million contractual dispute with a NHS regional clinical commissioning group over the interpretation of a contract for the provision of health services to NHS patients.
  • A £10m+ Commercial Court claim relating to alleged contamination in food supplied to one of the largest commercial pig farms in the UK, alleged to be caused by the supplier’s breach of contract.
  • Arbitration proceedings concerning the interpretation of a contract for the maintenance and repair of the tidal defence gates at a major UK harbour.
  • A dispute concerning variations to an agreement for the control of noise and the number of seats for sale at a major UK airport.
  • Aspers UK Holdings Limited v MOFIV [2017] EWHC 1855 (Ch), concerning the interpretation of guarantee provisions in relation to liabilities in excess of £15million. The tenant had ceased trading and Aspers (represented by Landmark) successfully contended that a release of the original guarantor triggered by that event applied to it on a true construction of the deed of substitution.
  • Acting for Associated British Ports (“ABP”) in ABP v Tata Steel UK Limited [2017] EWHC 694 (Ch), concerning a 25-year licence between ABP and Tata for use of the jetty at Port Talbot. The licence provided for the renegotiation of the licence terms in the event of a major physical or financial change in circumstances affecting operations at the port or steelworks. The major change in financial circumstances was said to be, inter alia, changes in the price of steel and currency fluctuations. The issue in the Chancery Division was whether the clause was too uncertain to be enforced.
  • Main & Ors v Giambrone & Law [2017] EWCA Civ 1193, concerning the sale of holiday property in Calabria to people who lived in the UK and Ireland. The purchasers sued Giambrone for breaches of multiple duties, including breach of trust and failing to warn the claimants that Calabria was a “notoriously crime-ridden area”.
  • A series of expert determinations relating to the interpretation of a development agreement involving a well-known high street supermarket.
  • Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd v Environment Agency [2017] EWHC 1340 (QB): a £13 million claim against the Environment Agency under a contract agreed in 1963 by the Manchester Ship Canal Company and the Mersey River Board (a predecessor of the EA) and subsequently confirmed in Schedule 2 of the Mersey River Board Act 1964. MSCC claimed damages under the contract in respect of flood damage caused to the Manchester Ship Canal during the high profile, extreme Boxing Day Floods of 2015. Represented by Landmark, the EA persuaded the High Court to grant summary judgment based upon the proper interpretation of the dispute resolution provisions in the contract.

(ii) International cases

  • A claim for breach of warranty in the Cayman Islands Grand Court relating to the acquisition of a company who had entered into a gas/oil exploration agreement with CNPC, the Chinese state-owned oil company.
  • Litigation in the British Virgin Islands arising out of a claim for unfair prejudice, breach of fiduciary duty by the defendant and his replacement as a director under ss.184B & 184I of the BVI Business Companies Act 2004.
  • Zuniga et al v Attorney General of Belize [2014] 2 CCJ (Caribbean Court of Justice): a challenge to the constitutionality of anti-arbitration legislation.
  • A dispute concerning the ownership of 200 million shares in a public company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (2 week trial in the Hong Kong Court of First Instance followed by appeals to the Court of Appeal and Court of Final Appeal).
  • A claim for breach of trust and fraudulent misrepresentation relating to a RMB 130million investment into a town gas distribution project in the PRC (3 week trial in the Hong Kong Court of First Instance with subsequent appeal).

(iii) Investor-state arbitration

  • Karkey v Islamic Republic of Pakistan Karkey Karadeniz Uretim SA v Islamic Republic of Pakistan (ICSID Case No. ARB/13/1): a US$1bn claim against Pakistan by a Turkish energy company arising out of the Pakistan Government’s temporary power procurement programme in 2011/2012.
  • British Caribbean Bank Limited v Government of Belize (PCA Case No. 2010-18): an investment treaty claim and related domestic constitutional and judicial review litigation arising out of the Belize Government’s utilities nationalisation programme between 2009 and 2011.
  • Dunkeld International Investment Ltd v Government of Belize (PCA Case No. 2010 -13): an arbitration commenced under the UK-Belize Bilateral Investment Treaty relating to the nationalisation of Telemedia, a telecommunications company.

For more information about our commercial dispute resolution practice and our members who provide advice and representation in this field, please contact Mark Ball.

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