Bankim Thanki QC, leading Christopher Lewis QC of Atkin Chambers (instructed by Jon Tweedale, Richard Levett and Katie Marquet-Horwood of Addleshaw Goddard), has successfully represented BP in the first case brought to trial under the Commercial Court’s Shorter Trial pilot scheme, following a hearing in the Court of Appeal on 27 July 2017. The Shorter Trial procedure (CPR PD51N) offers dispute resolution on a commercial timescale: cases are managed by docketed Judges with the aim of reaching trial within approximately 10 months of the issue of proceedings, and judgment within six weeks of trial. The procedure is intended for cases, even economically significant cases, which can be fairly tried on the basis of limited disclosure and oral evidence. The maximum length of trial is four days, including reading time.
The action involved a claim by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi against BP for breach of warranty and misrepresentation in respect of a US$ 70 million receivables financing transaction relating to the sale by BP of 100,000 metric tonnes of Russian Export Blend crude oil to a Moroccan oil refinery.
The trial judge, Mrs Justice Carr, found in the Bank’s favour in her judgment dated 18 November 2016, following a one day trial on 7 November 2016 ( EWHC 2892 (Comm)). Following permission to appeal granted by Flaux LJ on an expedited basis, the Court of Appeal (Gloster LJ, Vice-President of the Court of Appeal (Civil), Patten and Briggs LJJ) allowed BP’s appeal on 27 July 2017 with the detailed reasons reserved. The Bank was represented by Rhodri Davies QC and Nicholas Sloboda of One Essex Court (instructed by Slaughter and May).