Judgment call: 30th April 2012

The content of a contractual obligation to use ‘best endeavours to promote’ another person’s business was not so uncertain as to be incapable of giving rise to a legally binding obligation, although it might be difficult to determine whether there had been a breach of it.


Jet2.com Ltd v Blackpool Airport Ltd (2012) EWCA Civ 417. Court of Appeal (Civil Division). Longmore LJ; Lewison LJ; Moore-Bick LJ. 2April2012

In this case, an airport was in breach of contract in refusing to accept departures or arrivals of a low-cost airline’s aircraft outside its normal hours.

Appeal dismissed

For the claimant/respondent Jet2.com Ltd

XXIV Old Buildings’ Philip Shepherd QC and Adam Clohert; Bird & Bird partner Robin Springthorpe

For the defendant/appellant Blackpool Airport Ltd

Brick Court Chambers’ George Leggatt QC and Michael Bools (QC in waiting); Eversheds partner Richard Little


(1) Stephen Foley (2) Independent News & Media Ltd (3) Roger Alton v Lord Ashcroft KCMG (2012) EWCA Civ 423. Court of Appeal (Civil Division). Pill LJ; Sharp J; Elias LJ. 4 April 2012

A properly pleaded meaning in a libel action was key to ensuring fairness between the parties. A judge had been entitled to strike out defences of justification and honest comment, and to have refused to give the defendants permission to amend their defence where the defences or proposed amendments were not sufficient or pleaded with proper particularity, and the intended meanings of the words complained of were vague and lacking in clarity and coherence.

Appeal dismissed

For the appellants (1) Stephen Foley, (2) Independent News & Media, (3) Roger Alton

Cloisters’ Paul Epstein QC; David Price principal David Price QC

For the respondent Lord Ashcroft KCMG

5RB’s Mark Warby QC and Adam Speker; Davenport Lyons partner Kevin Bayes

Criminal evidence

R (on the application of Guardian News and Media Ltd) v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court (2012) EWCA Civ 420. Court of Appeal (Civil Division). Lord Neuberger MR; Toulson LJ; Hooper LJ. 3 April 2012

A newspaper publisher was entitled to have disclosure of court documents that had been referred to in open court at an extradition hearing. Where documents had been placed before a judge and referred to in proceedings, the default position should be that access was permitted on the open justice principle, particularly where access was sought for a proper journalistic purpose.

Appeal allowed

For the appellant Guardian News and Media

Doughty Street Chambers’ Gavin Millar QC; 5RB’s Adam Wolanski; RPC senior associate Brid Jordan

For interested party the US government

6 KBW’s David Perry QC and Melanie Cumberland

For the intervener in the appeal

Doughty Street Chambers’ Heather Rogers QC and Ben Silverstone; Leigh Day & Co partner Sean Humber

Blackstone Chambers’ James Eadie QC
Blackstone Chambers’ James Eadie QC

Legal advice and funding

R (on the application of the Law Society of England and Wales) v Lord Chancellor (2012) EWHC 794 (Admin). Divisional Court. Treacy J; Stanley Burnton LJ.

30 March 2012

The decision to abolish the fee previously payable to legal representatives for committal proceedings by the Criminal Defence Service (Funding) (Amendment) Order 2011 art.25 was not unlawful.

Application refused

For the appellant the Law Society of England and Wales

Matrix Chambers’ Sam Grodzinski QC and Helen Law; Bindmans partner Stephen Grosz

For the respondent the Lord Chancellor

Blackstone Chambers’ James Eadie QC; 11KBW’s Jason Coppel; both instructed directly by the Treasury Solicitor


(1) Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd (2) Samsung Electronics Co Ltd v Apple Inc (2012) EWHC 889 (Ch). Chancery Division. Mann J.

4 April 2012

The High Court determined a number of issues in relation to proceedings concerning the infringement of a registered community design for a tablet computer.

Judgment accordingly

For the claimants Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd

11 South Square’s Henry Carr QC and Anna Edwards-Stuart; Simmons & Simmons partner Gavin Lawson

For the defendant Apple

3 New Square’s Simon Thorley QC and Joe Delaney; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Justin Watts

Landlord and tenant

PCE Investors Ltd v Cancer Research UK (2012) EWHC 884 (Ch). Chancery Division. Peter Smith J. 4 April 2012

Where a break clause condition stipulated that a tenant was to pay rent up to the termination date, the tenant was required to pay a full quarter’s rent on the last quarter day, notwithstanding that the exercise of the break clause terminated the underlease before the end of the quarter period.

Judgment accordingly

For the claimant PCE Investors

Falcon Chambers’ Stephen Jourdan QC; MacRae & Co partner Robert Gaskell

For the defendant Cancer Research UK

Landmark Chambers’ Katharine Holland QC; Squire Sanders partner Will Laurence


Metall Market OOO v Vitorio Shipping Co Ltd (2012) EWHC 844 (Comm). Commercial Court (QBD). Popplewell J.

4 April 2012

A shipowner that exercised a general average lien could not recover from the cargo receiver insurance and storage charges incurred in protecting the cargo where it denied possession to the receiver solely on the grounds that it was exercising a lien.

Appeal allowed in part

For the claimant Metall Market OOO

Quadrant Chambers’ Chirag Karia QC; Clyde & Co partner John Whittaker

For the defendant Vitorio Shipping Co Ltd

Essex Court Chambers’ Claire Blanchard QC; Stephenson Harwood partner Peter Handley