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 Vodafone v Ofcom - Restitution for unlawfully set charges

In Vodafone Ltd v Office of Communications [2019] 3 WLR 549, the High Court in England ordered restitution of £218 million (plus interest), after quashing 2015 regulations that set new fees for spectrum licences.  It rejected an argument that the court could assess what charges would have been set had Ofcom acted lawfully.  Rather, in a Woolwich restitution claim, the legality principle means that a court cannot hypothesise different secondary legislation.  

Conflict of laws - Gray v Hurley: Battle of jurisdictions

Two recent decisions of the English High Court in Gray v Hurley illustrate the complexities of determining an appropriate forum.  When two different jurisdictions are grappling with that issue, parallel proceedings are undesirable but may be unavoidable.

Insolvency - Trading trusts and statutory priorities

The High Court of Australia has released its decision in Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Australia Pty Ltd v The Commonwealth [2019] HCA 20 (concerning Amerind Pty Ltd, "Amerind").   This clarifies the priority position for distributing assets of an insolvent trading trust.

Conflict of laws - submission, agency and protests

Kaefer Aislamientos SA de CV v AMS Drilling Mexico SA de CV [2019] EWCA Civ 10, [2019] 1 WLR 3398: Court of Appeal (UK) considers the evidential threshold to be met in a protest about whether the defendants were bound, as undisclosed principals, by a submission to jurisdiction clause.

Contract - penalties

127 Hobson Street Ltd v Honey Bees Preschool Ltd [2018] NZCA 122: Court of Appeal determines New Zealand's modern approach to the penalties doctrine in contract law, based on a disproportionality test, cross-checked by a punitive purpose test.

Intellectual Property - user principle

The New Zealand National Party v Eight Mile Style, LLC [2018] NZCA 596: Court of Appeal clarifies the "user principle" for assessing damages in intellectual property cases.  

Contract - NOM clauses

Rock Advertising Ltd v MWB Business Exchange Centres Ltd [2018] UKSC 24, [2019] AC 119, [2018] 2 WLR 1603: Supreme Court (UK) gives effect to "no oral modification" clause, so an oral agreement to vary was inoperative. 

Contract - negotiating damages

One Step (Support) Ltd v Morris-Garner [2018] UKSC 20,  [2018] 2 WLR 1353, [2018] 3 All ER 659: Analysis by the Supreme Court (UK) of when "negotiating damages" (Wrotham Park damages) are available. 

Conflict of Laws - territorial reach of statutes

Brown v New Zealand Basing Limited [2017] NZSC 139, [2018] 1 NZLR 245: Supreme Court adopts a sui genesis statutory interpretation approach to the jurisdictional reach of employment law, rather than a traditional conflict of laws analysis.  

© Copyright Laura O'Gorman

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