Judgment call: 19 March 2012

The court was entitled to refuse to recognise a Ukrainian judgment on the basis that it involved a flagrant breach of the principle of legal certainty contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 (ECHR) art.6 and, as a result, to have refused to set aside an English default judgment.

Alexander Layton QC
Alexander Layton QC

Conflict of law

Merchant International Co Ltd v Natsionalna Aktsionerna Kompaniya Naftogaz (2012) EWCA Civ 196. Court of Appeal (Civil Division). Lord Neuberger MR; Toulson LJ; Hooper LJ.

29 February 2012

While the English court should apply a strong presumption that the procedures of other ECHR states complied with art.6, it was not wrong for an English court to consider whether a judgment of a court of an ECHR state contravened the ECHR.

Appeal dismissed

For the appellant Natsionalna Aktsionerna Kompaniya Naftogaz

20 Essex Street’s Alexander Layton QC; One Essex Court’s Michael Fealy; Simmons & Simmons partner Ian Hammond

For the respondent Merchant International Co

Blackstone Chambers’ Michael Beloff QC; Monckton Chambers’ Robert Palmer; Hogan Lovells International associate Charles Brasted


Eddie Stobart Ltd v Moreman & Ors. Unreported. Employment Appeal Tribunal. Underhill J (President). 17 February 2012

An “organised grouping of employees […] which has as its principal purpose the carrying out of […] activities […] on behalf of [a particular] client” within

the meaning of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 reg. 3(3)(a)(i) would only exist where the relevant employees were organised by reference to the requirements of the client in question.

Appeal dismissed

For the appellant Eddie Stobart

9 St John Street’s Joanne Woodward; Hill Dickinson associate Philip Hodges

For the first respondent Moreman

Waring Associates partner Jane Waring

For the second respondent

FJG Logistics Taylor & Emmet partner David Poddington

For the third respondent Cooper

Dere Street Barristers’ Chambers’ Bruce Frew; Thompsons solicitor Kate Lea


Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd v Medimmune Ltd (2012) EWHC 181 (Pat). Chancery Division (Patents Court). Arnold J.

10 February 2012


A supplementary protection certificate granted in respect of a patent relating to a biotechnological technique was invalid where the product, in allegedly infringing the patent, was not identified in the wording of the claim of the patent as the product of the technique.

Declaration granted in favour of claimant

For the claimant Novartis

3 New Square’s Simon Thorley QC, Justin Turner QC and Joe Delaney; Allen & Overy partner Nicola Dagg

For the defendant Medimmune

8 New Square’s Richard Meade QC and James Whyte; 3 New Square’s Tom Mitcheson; Marks & Clerk partner Mike Gilbert



R (on the application of Thames Water Utilities Ltd) v Water Services Regulation Authority [WSRA] (2012) EWCA Civ 218. Court of Appeal (Civil Division). Laws LJ; Kitchin J; Tomlinson LJ.

25 January 2012


The court interpreted the Water Industry Act 1991 s.7(4)(b) and s.36(3)(a)(i) and stipulated that the ‘unserved status’ criterion for substituting one water and sewerage undertaker for another did not require that premises had never been served by a sitting undertaker. For the purposes of applying the ‘large user’ criterion in s.7(4)(bb) and s.7(5), ‘premises’ was not to be equated with buildings could apply to a site as a whole.

Appeal dismissed

For the appellant Thames Water Utilities

Blackstone Chambers’ Michael Fordham QC; Monckton Chambers’ Kassie Smith; Berwin Leighton Paisner senior associate James Marshall

For the respondent WSRA

Blackstone Chambers’ Monica Carss-Frisk QC and Kieron Beal; Brick Court Chambers’ Alan Maclean QC; all instructed directly by the Office of Water Services Principal Legal Adviser

Administration of justice

West Country Renovations Ltd v McDowell (2012) EWHC 307 (TCC). Technology & Construction Court. Akenhead J.
23 February 2012

The court gave guidance on the approach to be taken by the Technology & Construction Court in relatively low-value claims and their transfer to the county court.

Guidance given


For the claimant West Country Renovations

4 Pump Court’s Peter Oliver instructed directly

For the defendant McDowell

Atkin Chambers’ Camille Slow; Mishcon de Reya partner Richard Gerstein



TMF Trustees Singapore Ltd (formerly Equity Trust (Singapore) Ltd) v Revenue & Customs Commissioners (2012) EWCA Civ 192. Court of Appeal (Civil Division).

Lloyd LJ; Jackson LJ; Rimer LJ.

2 March 2012

Condition B in the Pension Schemes (Categories of Country and Requirements for Overseas Pension Schemes and Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes) Regulations 2006 reg.2(3) only applied if the relevant foreign country had no system at all for approval for tax purposes of any kind of pension scheme.

Appeal dismissed


For the appellant TMF Trustees

Gray’s Inn Tax Chambers’ Hui Ling McCarthy; Squire Sanders barrister Peter Vaines

For the respondent Revenue & Customs Commissioners

Pump Court Tax Chambers’ Elizabeth Wilson; instructed directly by HM Revenue & Customs Solicitor’s Office

Real estate

Smith Brothers Farms Ltd v Canwell Estate Co Ltd (2012) EWCA Civ 237. Court of Appeal (Civil Division). Mummery LJ; Kitchin LJ; Toulson LJ.

2 March 2012


A county court judge had not erred in concluding that a rentcharge, which had been created in 1990 by a transfer of registered land, was a valid ‘estate rentcharge’ for the purposes of the Rentcharges

Act 1977 s.2(4)(b).

Appeal dismissed

For the appellant Smith Brothers

Ropewalk Chambers’ Soofi Din; Dewes managing partner Adrian Kennedy

For the respondent Canwell Estate

Hardwicke’s John De Waal; Ansons solicitor Neil Faunch