Litigation Recent Decisions 16/04/96

Bank's breach of duty fails to result in recoverable loss

Michael John Cunnington v Barclays Bank (1996).

QBD (Potter J).

Summary: Bank's breach of duty in failing to notify its customer of a fax from a prospective buyer of cigarettes in Eastern Europe did not render it liable in damages to its customer.

Claim by the customer of a bank in negligence for the bank's failure to promptly notify the plaintiff of information it had received by fax from a prospective purchaser in Poland of $8,064,000 worth of Marlboro cigarettes which the plaintiff believed he was in a position to supply from a seller in Rotterdam. The message concerned the willingness and intention of the purchaser to open a letter of credit forthwith. The bank had agreed to act as a staging post for messages to the plaintiff in respect of the hoped-for sale.