News - Commodities image 1

Quadrant Chambers Commodities Event


We held our Quadrant Chambers Commodities Event on Tuesday 12 June at Quadrant House.

We were delighted to have The Rt Hon Lord Justice Hamblen to chair this event. Our speakers included Simon Rainey QC, John Russell QC, Caroline Pounds and David Semark. They looked at current trends in hedging arguments; how the Fiona Trust presumption operates where an umbrella, and individual sales contract have different jurisdiction provisions; the circumstances in which a sub-sale may be relevant to the assessment of damages and challenging contracts for uncertainty. A full programme is included below. If you would like to receive a copy of the handout, please contact a member of the Marketing Team.


Current Trends in Hedging Arguments in Commodities Cases - Simon Rainey QC

The potential effect of hedging to augment or to reduce a claim in damages is now well settled. It brings with it however difficulties of proof for claimants and novel attempts by defendants to extend the scope of enquiry raising questions of far can one go: Simon considers two recent cases which exemplify these issues and asks ‘where next?

Under the umbrella? - Eurochem v Dreymoor - John Russell QC

Under the umbrella?  How the Fiona Trust presumption operates where an umbrella, and individual, sales contract have different jurisdiction provisions.

Sub-sales, assessing damages and the Slater v Hoyle and Bence Graphics v Fasson debate: Clarification at last? - Caroline Pounds

Caroline discusses the forthcoming Court of Appeal decision in Euro-Asian Oil SA v Credit Suisse AG(first instance: [2016] EWHC 3340 (Comm) (Cranston J)).  She considers the debate surrounding the decisions in Slater v Hoyle and Bence Graphics v Fasson and whether one should expect clarification from the Court of Appeal as to the circumstances in which a sub-sale may be relevant to the assessment of damages.

Challenging contracts for uncertainty. A hopeless task? - David Semark

Notwithstanding Lord Wright's despairing remark in Hillas & Co. Ltd v. Arcos Ltd that "Business men often record the most important agreements in crude and summary fashion", it remains common for binding commodities contracts to be concluded on the basis of an informal exchange of messages. Nevertheless, where one party later seeks to avoid such a contract on the basis that its terms are too uncertain to be enforceable, the English Courts have traditionally been reluctant to find that no binding contract has been concluded. In this talk David examines the recent re-iteration of the applicable principles governing such challenges by the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division in Astor Management AG v. Atalaya Mining Plc, and Associated British Ports v. Tata Steel UK Ltd.