Construction: Dubious drafting

Sapna Garg examines a recent case on contractual interpretation ‘What can we take from this case? It is a trite point, but surely there is no clearer illustration of how failing to draft a contract clearly and unambiguously can land the parties in a lengthy and costly dispute.‘ At the start of a new business …
This post is only available to members.

Drafting: If the cap fits

James Farrell and Sophie Jones explore the lessons to be learned from a recent case on liability caps ‘Although the court will consider commercial common sense and the surrounding circumstances, its focus is first and foremost on the language used. The language used is something that contracting parties have control over, and they should exercise …
This post is only available to members.

Insights By Penningtons Manches: Roll with it – contractual interpretation

Clare Arthurs and Nicole Finlayson report on recent citations of Wood v Capita ‘Both these cases illustrate in practice the approach set out in Wood of employing the tools of textualism and contextualism together, seeking a balance between the literal meaning of the words and their context to arrive at the correct interpretation.’ Earlier this …
This post is only available to members.

Construction: Brick by brick

Claire King analyses recent judicial trends in the contractual interpretation of construction contracts ‘What has sometimes been used as a “get out of jail card” (ie arguing business common sense to escape an otherwise harsh result) is going to be an increasingly hard card to use in the future.’The key to resolving disputes is all …
This post is only available to members.

Update: Seeing the Wood for the trees

Rebecca Williams and David Wright examine a recent Supreme Court judgment ‘The judgment in Wood is a reaffirmation that the court will use all the tools available to it to seek to understand the meaning of the wording in a contract, using the text itself, but also the wider contract and commercial intention of the …
This post is only available to members.

Gorbunova v Estate of Boris Berezovsky & ors [2016] EWHC 1829 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | November 2016 #164

B had been involved in litigation against A and the AP family (the litigation) from which he potentially stood to recover large sums of money. The claimant, G, was B’s long-term partner. In March 2012 the litigation deed was drawn up to reflect agreement between B and G regarding G’s entitlement to B’s assets (including the litigation). B subsequently lost his case against A and entered into settlement discussions with the AP family. The litigation agreement was a further document signed in September 2012 to reflect an agreement between B and G concerning her entitlemen...

Brennan v Prior [2015] EWHC 3082 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | March 2016 #157

The claimant and third to sixth defendants were beneficiaries under a will. The first and second defendants were the witnesses and executors of the will. The claimant unsuccessfully challenged the will with costs orders being made against the claimant in favour of the first and second defendants and the third to sixth defendants. As regards the third to sixth defendants’ costs the order provided that the costs (if not previously paid) should be payable out of what remained of the claimant’s pecuniary legacy after payment of the first and second defendants’ costs prior t...

Guthrie v Morel & ors [2015] EWHC 3172 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | March 2016 #157

The claimant sought by way of summary judgment a declaration as to the true construction of a will or alternatively an order for rectification of the will pursuant to s20(1) of the Administration of Justice Act 1982.

The deceased died on 20 July 2011. His will took the form of a letter addressed to a solicitor. Both parties accepted that the document was a will and had been admitted to probate. One of the executors obtained a grant of probate on 23 August 2012.

The will contained a bequest in the following terms: ‘My property 87 Loma Del Rey, Alcades...

Break Clauses: The letter of the law

Darrell Chiheb reviews a case clarifying the position on break clauses, which reasserts the importance of express over implied terms ‘While it may be tempting for a court to construe an instrument by the inclusion of implied terms to make it fairer or more reasonable, the court will use this power in only exceptional circumstances.’ …
This post is only available to members.

Contract: Clear skies? Comparing Arnold v Britton to Rainy Sky SA v Kookmin Bank

David Sawtell considers some key points of contract interpretation ‘Much of the difference between the decisions in Rainy Sky and Arnold is explained by the ambiguity of the disputed term in the former decision and the clarity of the clause under review in the latter.’It is trite to state that the purpose of contractual interpretation …
This post is only available to members.