Judgment Call: 8 October

Legal profession: Zeckler v Assigned Risk Pool Manager Capita Commercial Services Ltd. Unreported. Nicholas Strauss QC. 5 September 2012

The Solicitors Indemnity Insurance Rules 2009 r.10.3 could not be relied on to imply, in the absence of any express contractual term, that a partner in a solicitors’ practice that operated as a limited liability partnership was liable for the practice’s unpaid professional indemnity insurance premiums.

Appeal allowed

The appellant Zeckler appeared in person

For the respondent Assigned Risk Pool Manager Capita Commercial Services

Hardwicke’s Wendy Parker instructed directly


Oni v NHS Leicester City (formerly Leicester City Primary Care Trust). Unreported. A Harris; Judge David Richardson; S Yeboah.12 September 2012

A tribunal dealing with the question of liability could and should express itself fully and properly on that issue, but it should not reach or express concluded views that anticipated arguments on the question of costs.

Appeal allowed

For the appellant Oni

Pump Court Chambers’ Heather Platt

For the respondent NHS Leicester City

New Walk Chambers’ David Monk; Bevan Brittansolicitor Lara Feghali

High Court
High Court upheld LLP member claim


Starbucks (UK) Ltd v British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc; (2) EMI (IP) Limited & Ors v British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC & Anor [2012] EWCA Civ 1201. Etherton LJ; Patten LJ; Tomlinson LJ. 13 September 2012

The Court of Appeal considered the meaning of ‘special grounds’ in Regulation 207/2009 art.104(1) and the approach that should be taken by a community trademark court on an application under that provision for a stay of proceedings alleging trademark infringement and passing off pending the outcome of an application to invalidate the relevant mark before the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market.

Appeals dismissed

For the appellants/respondents British Sky Broadcasting

One Essex Court’s Geoffrey Hobbs QC; One Essex Court’s Guy Hollingworth; SJ Berwin partner David Rose

For the respondent Starbucks

11 South Square’s Michael Silverleaf QC; 11 South Square’s Richard Hacon; Dechert associate Nathan Smith

For the appellants EMI

Three New Square’s Simon Thorley QC; 11 South Square’s Anna Edwards-Stuart; Bird & Bird partner Jane Mutimear


Sportical Global Communications Ltd v Revenue and Customs Commissioners. [2012] UKFTT 537 (TC). Judge John Clark; Kamal Hossain. 22 August 2012

Although there was no allowance for limited lateness in regards to employers’ PAYE payments, the penalties imposed under the Finance Act 2009 Sch.56 were not disproportionate as there was the facility for an employer in financial difficulty to reach a ‘time to pay’ agreement with HM Revenue & Customs, and the penalties had the clear objective of ensuring timely payment by employers.

Appeal dismissed

For the appellant Sportical Global Communications

Chief executive Mike Laflin appeared as a litigant in person

For the respondents HM Revenue & Customs

Jack Lloyd, presenting officer


Smith & Ors v South Eastern Power Networks plc; Mr & Mrs Shaheen v London Power Networks; Phillip Rice v South Eastern Power Networks plc; A Mead v South Eastern Power Networks plc; Mr & Mrs Surtees v South Eastern Power Networks plc [2012] EWHC 2541 (TCC) Akenhead J. 17 September 2012

Owners of residential and retail properties had failed to establish that any breaches of duty by electricity distributors, such as failing to routinely inspect or replace cut-out assemblies, had caused fire damage to their properties. The fires had all started as a result of resistive heating problems in cut-out assemblies, but there was no evidence that a careful routine visual inspection would have revealed impending problems.

Judgment for defendants

For the appellants Smith, Shaheen, Rice, Mead, Surtees

Crown Office Chambers’ Michael Kent QC; Hailsham Chambers’ Simon Howarth; Crown Office Chambers’ Jack Macaulay; DAC Beachcroft

For the respondents South Eastern Power Networks Plc, London Power Networks

Hardwicke’s Paul Reed QC; Hardwicke’s Sarah McCann; Greenwoods partner Richard Houseago


Land Rover v Revenue and Customs Commissioners. [2012] UKFTT 562 (TC). Christopher Jenkins; Judge Kevin Poole. 06 September 2012

Part of the satellite navigation system installed in motor vehicles manufactured by the appellant was an ‘assembly for GPS system having a position determination function’ within the Combined Nomenclature. Even though it was contained in its own housing it was not a standalone product and was properly described as an assembly.

Appeal allowed

For the appellant Land Rover

Monckton Chambers’ Valentina Sloane instructed directly

For the respondents HM Revenue & Customs

One Crown Office Row’s Owain Thomas instructed directly


In the Matter of Sea Containers Services Ltd (In Liquidation); Sea Containers Ltd (In Liquidation); 0438490 Travel Ltd (In Liquidation); 1882420 LTD (In Liquidation); & S.C. Maritime Ltd (In Liquidation) And In the Matter of the Insolvency Act 1986 Re. [2012] EWHC 2547 (Ch). Hildyard J. 19 September 2012

The court determined questions concerning a final salary occupational pension scheme in which the benefits to male and female members were equalised by raising the normal retirement date to 65 for all members, and the effect of a special promise made to certain female members that they would still be provided with a pension at 60 if they elected to retire then.

Judgment accordingly

For the applicants Sea Containers Services Ltd (In Liquidation)

3 Stone Buildings’ Sarah Asplin QC; 3 Stone Buildings’ Fenner Moeran; Bingham McCutchen Rod Farningham

For the representative respondents

Outer Temple Chambers’ Andrew Short QC; Wragge & Co director Ian Gordon