Issues of contractual commitment and determining when the specification of goods is part of their description

Ince & Co previously reported on the earlier incarnation of Proton Energy Group SA v Orlen Lietuva in its April 2013 Legal Update, in which the claimant was unsuccessful in an application for summary judgment. This latest decision of the Commercial Court follows the full trial of the case on the question of whether a binding contract had been concluded between the parties.

The trial judge also addressed the parties’ various arguments in relation to the terms of the contract and the judgment contains an interesting passage on the often thorny question of whether the contract specification forms part of the description of the cargo or is simply dealing with quality.

Proton Energy Group, a Swiss trader of oil- and gasoline-related products, and Orlen Lietuva, a petroleum refining company incorporated in Lithuania, exchanged emails regarding the sale and purchase of crude oil mix. The parties accepted that a number of exchanges had occurred on 14 June 2012…

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