United Kingdom updates

Arbitration & ADR

Contributed by Clifford Chance
State consent to arbitrate and waiver of immunity determined by clear wording of arbitration agreement
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 October 2018

The High Court recently examined an application by Ukraine to set aside an enforcement award following a disputed arbitration award. The case highlights the importance of ensuring that any agreement being entered into with a state party contains carefully drafted arbitration provisions and appropriately worded waiver of immunity language to ensure that the dispute resolution regime is fit for purpose.

High Court refuses to restrain EU court proceedings brought in breach of arbitration agreement
  • United Kingdom
  • 16 August 2018

The English courts will not grant anti-suit injunctions to restrain court proceedings brought in breach of arbitration clauses in the courts of other EU member states, as seen in the High Court's recent refusal of an application for anti-suit relief to restrain court proceedings in Cyprus and its grant of an anti-suit injunction targeted at court proceedings in Russia. This decision provides, at least for now, clarity in an area of law that has been subject to debate.

Court of Appeal rules on arbitrators' duty to disclose
  • United Kingdom
  • 07 June 2018

The Court of Appeal recently found that there was no appearance of bias where an arbitrator had accepted multiple arbitral appointments from one party to several arbitrations where the subject matter of the arbitrations was the same or overlapping. Nevertheless, the court held that the arbitrator had had a duty in law and as a matter of good practice to disclose issues where there was a real possibility of bias.

Commercial Court sets aside partial award of LCIA tribunal – time limits for objections to jurisdiction
  • United Kingdom
  • 15 March 2018

It is relatively rare for the English courts to overturn awards of arbitral tribunals. However, a recent decision of the Commercial Court did just that, setting aside a London Court of International Arbitration partial award made by a panel of three queen's counsel. The partial award was challenged on the basis that the arbitral tribunal had lacked substantive jurisdiction and the application had been made pursuant to Section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996.

Court orders trial for fraud allegations raised post-award
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 January 2018

In a recent case regarding the enforcement of an arbitral award against Kazakhstan, the English court ruled that in light of new evidence that had not been before the tribunal when the award was rendered, the allegations of fraud raised by Kazakhstan should be fully investigated before a view could be taken as to whether the award could be enforced in England. The court confirmed that public policy is a matter for each state to consider, regardless of whether the courts of another country have ruled on the matter.


Contributed by Vedder Price LLP
Drones – the rise of the Basic Regulation
  • United Kingdom
  • 03 October 2018

In July 2017 the government released proposals to regulate the use of drones in the United Kingdom. Since then, the regulation of drones has been transferred to the European Union and now falls under the EU Basic Regulation. Many of the UK government's proposals for drone operators are included in the EU Basic Regulation, which sets the groundwork for establishing rules that will require operators of drones that weigh 250kg and above to register them and ensure that they are marked for identification.

Slots can be traded for value even after insolvency
  • United Kingdom
  • 16 May 2018

Monarch Airlines Limited's administrators have won an appeal with the Court of Appeal regarding Monarch's rights in and to certain 'slots' at Luton and Gatwick airports after it went into administration. The case is significant, as it reaffirms the value ascribed to slots by airlines and their financiers as rights of the airline and the fact that, as a result, they can be traded for value even after insolvency.

Operating lessor financings: structural overview
  • United Kingdom
  • 28 March 2018

With competition among aircraft lessors remaining fierce, airlines are taking an increasing proportion of aircraft on operating leases. The 'wholesaling' of debt financing – where the primary recourse entity on financings is the lessor rather than the airline – is an important recent trend in the aircraft financing market that is likely to continue. Aircraft financiers should be aware of the structural items to consider in executing operating lessor financings and the pitfalls to be avoided.

Split closings: a divide in methods
  • United Kingdom
  • 21 March 2018

The inclusion of engine pooling arrangements and rigorous maintenance requirements in operating leases frequently results in engines which formed part of a leased aircraft at delivery being off-wing. Off-wing engines create complications for transaction parties attempting to execute a sale of the aircraft. While these complications are not insurmountable, the marketplace has developed different approaches to address the off-wing engine scenario.

Necessary regulation or the government droning on?
  • United Kingdom
  • 23 August 2017

The Department for Transport recently published its response to a public consultation concerning the safe use of unmanned aircraft systems in the United Kingdom. Both in the consultation and the response, it is clear that the government's focus is on ensuring safety, particularly relating to operational issues in the leisure market. However, the response also provides insight into the direction of the government's policy as it affects commercial operators and its determination to develop world-class systems.


Contributed by Allen & Overy LLP
EUR wrong: when sterling means euros
  • United Kingdom
  • 18 January 2019

The High Court recently used interpretation rather than rectification to fix an unhappily drafted loan agreement for "Seven Million Five Hundred Pounds [sic] (£7,500,000) to be drawn down in Euros". The dispute concerned whether the amount owed was in sterling or euros.

Three strikes and you're out – bank's duty to make inquiries of suspicious transactions
  • United Kingdom
  • 07 December 2018

A first-instance court recently considered the extent to which a bank's duty of care owed to its customers, co-existing in contract and tort, requires the bank to make inquiries of suspicious transactions in their bank accounts. The court found in favour of the bank on the basis of expiry of the relevant limitation period. This article focuses on the court's discussion, by way of obiter, of the bank's duty of care owed to its customers where suspicious transactions occur.

Redressing the balance: banks owe no contractual duty to customers in respect of regulator-mandated reviews
  • United Kingdom
  • 19 October 2018

A recent decision gave Court of Appeal endorsement to a raft of similar first-instance decisions regarding banks' contractual duties to customers in respect of regulator-mandated reviews. The decision provides helpful comfort for banks when agreeing remedial action with the Financial Conduct Authority that they ought not to be exposing themselves to private actions from customers in respect of their review, provided that third-party rights are excluded.

Capital Markets

Listing sovereign-controlled companies in the United Kingdom
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 December 2018

The listing regime for the United Kingdom's Official List is divided into premium and standard listing segments. For admittance to the premium listing segment, an issuer must meet higher UK-specific standards that are intended to provide additional investor protection and promote shareholder confidence. The UK Financial Conduct Authority recently introduced a new category, but issuers have yet to avail themselves of the new regime.

New IPO process in practice: emerging trends?
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 November 2018

The Financial Conduct Authority recently implemented changes to the initial public offer (IPO) regime that have had a fundamental impact on the process of conducting an IPO in the United Kingdom. Companies including Aston Martin and Funding Circle have had to negotiate these new rules in practice over the past few months and certain trends are now beginning to emerge.

Company & Commercial

Contributed by Squire Patton Boggs
Directors' duties: guidance from GC100
  • United Kingdom
  • 19 November 2018

The Association of General Counsel and Company Secretaries working in UK FTSE 100 companies (GC100) has issued guidance on the practical interpretation of Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006. The GC100 guidance aims to provide directors with practical help in interpreting their Section 172 duties rather than offer legal advice, and sets out five specific things to help directors embed Section 172 into their decision making.

Prohibitions on assignment of receivables outlawed
  • United Kingdom
  • 29 October 2018

In 2014 the government recognised the benefit of outlawing prohibitions on the assignment of receivables and set about establishing the legal framework. The Asset Based Finance Association formulated the provisions for a new law to allow regulations to be made to invalidate certain restrictive terms of business contracts. These regulations have now been drafted in the form of the Business Contract (Assignment of Receivables) Regulations 2018, which await parliamentary approval.

Revised UK corporate governance coming
  • United Kingdom
  • 25 June 2018

The United Kingdom will be getting a revised Corporate Governance Code, most likely effective as of January 2019. The House of Commons Library recently published a briefing paper on corporate governance reform, which provides an overview of the corporate governance framework, including the history of the UK corporate governance code and its interaction with directors' duties under the Companies Act 2006.

Court of Appeal decides that electronic supply of software does not amount to sale of goods
  • United Kingdom
  • 30 April 2018

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal of the judgment of a High Court case which concerned the question of whether a licence to use electronically supplied software amounts to the sale of goods under the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993. This question is important, given the significant protections and post-termination payouts afforded to agents who qualify under the regulations.

Public register of shareholder dissent
  • United Kingdom
  • 26 February 2018

At the request of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Investment Association has launched a public register of Financial Times Stock Exchange All-Share companies, showing occasions where these companies have experienced substantial shareholder dissent. The purpose of the register is to identify companies which receive a high vote against or withdraw a resolution and to understand the process used by those companies to identify and address their shareholders' concerns.