On 26 July 2023, the UK Supreme Court handed down a judgment that will cause serious disruption (at least in the short term) to the litigation funding market. In R (on the application of PACCAR Inc and others) v. Competition Appeal Tribunal and others, the Supreme Court held by a majority that litigation funding agreements which entitled the funders to recover a percentage of the damages recovered were damages-based agreements and, as such, were unenforceable, as they did not meet the strict statutory conditions for such agreements.
The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary has published the Speech by HHJ Pelling KC: Issues in Crypto Currency Fraud Claims – an update, an interesting and thoughtful review of recent developments given at the ThoughtLeaders4 Annual Crypto in Disputes Conference on 28 June 2023.
On 11 July 2023, the Circuit Court of Ireland awarded 2,000 euros in compensation to a plaintiff seeking ‘non-material damage’ under Article 82 of the General Data Protection Regulation, in what is believed to be the first case in the European Union to follow the recent Court of Justice of the European Union decision in the Österreichische Post case (Case C-300/21).We have written previously about the Österreichische Post case, in the blog post titled ‘European Court of Justice Clarifies Rules on Damages Compensation for GDPR Breaches’.In the Irish case of Arkadiusz Kaminski v Ballymaguire Foods Limited  IECC 5, the court held that the plaintiff suffered non-material harm when the defendant, his employer, used CCTV footage of him, in which he was clearly identifiable, in a training session delivered to other employees.
On 28 June 2023, the Law Commission of England and Wales published its highly anticipated final report on digital assets following its consultation with industry stakeholders (see this summary of the final report). The comprehensive and wide-ranging report stresses that ‘digital assets are fundamental to modern society and the contemporary economy’, ‘used for an expanding variety of purposes’ and ‘in growing volumes’. It makes few recommendations for actual law reform, concluding that the common law developed through individual cases is sufficiently flexible and able to accommodate most of the legal complexities posed by digital assets (which the report recognises is a very broad term covering very different assets and technologies).
Injunctions are typically sought by parties after wrongdoing has already taken place. However, the English courts may grant a ‘quia timet’ – or ‘precautionary’ – injunction to prevent an actionable wrong from being committed.
In University of Brighton v. Persons Unknown Occupying Land, the High Court of England and Wales granted a final injunction preventing protesters from occupying certain areas of the claimant’s executive administration office. This judgment provides a useful restatement of the principles applied by the courts when determining whether to award a precautionary injunction.
In Chechetkin v. Payward Ltd and Others, the High Court of England and Wales ruled that the existence of an arbitration clause in an agreement between the parties should not prevent the court from hearing the UK consumer’s claim for repayment of sums lost through his trading on the defendants’ cryptocurrency exchange.
In Drax Energy Solutions Limited v. Wipro Limited, the Technology and Construction Court considered the proper interpretation of a limitation of liability clause. The judgment provides a useful summary of the principles that apply to such an exercise. It is particularly notable that the court gave very little weight in the circumstances to the notion that in the absence of clear words, the court will assume that parties generally do not intend to derogate from the normal rights they would otherwise have.
In Rhine Shipping DMCC v. Vitol SA, the Commercial Court of England and Wales determined that the claimant’s internal risk management system, by which the risk of loss arising from physical trades was ‘hedged’ against opposite risks arising from other trades, could not be taken into account when assessing damages.
In the recent decision of Jalla & Another v Shell International Trading and Shipping Co Ltd & Another, the UK Supreme Court held that a one-off oil spill did not represent a continuing nuisance regardless of the continued presence of the oil on the claimant’s land.
The decision of the Court of Appeal in the closely watched case of David McClean & Ors v. Andrew Thornhill KChelpfully rearticulates the established principles governing when a duty of care may arise and the scope of such a duty. It is widely understood that any professional advice needs to be given with sufficient confidence as to allow the recipient to act upon it, but in addition, that the risks associated with that advice also need to be clearly outlined, so that the recipient is not blind to potentially adverse consequences. How this balance is navigated is difficult and only becomes more so when the recipient of the advice wants to share it with third parties to give them comfort on the issues at hand.