Jeff Chapman QC (leading Andrew De Mestre from 4 Stone Buildings and instructed by Michael Brown of Bird & Bird LLP) acted successfully for the Italian Bank, Banca Nazionale del Lavaro SPA, in the Supreme Court in resisting an attempt by a casino, the Playboy Club, to rely on a bank reference given in favour of a gambler to a company associated with the Club rather than the Club itself.

In Banca Nazionale del Lavaro SPA v. Playboy Club London Limited [2018] UKSC 43, the Supreme Court has dismissed the Club’s appeal based on an attempt to invoke the doctrine of the undisclosed principal in the law of negligent misrepresentation, with Lord Sumption giving the leading judgment.  Lord Mance observed that the Bank was “very lucky to avoid liability to the Club” but did not dissent from the unanimous agreement of the Supreme Court with Lord Sumption’s judgment.  Re-visiting the reasoning in Hedley Byrne, the Supreme Court accepted the Bank’s argument that it had not voluntarily assumed any responsibility to the Club itself, rather than to the associated company to whom the reference was addressed, so as to keep the gambler’s activities confidential from the Bank.

Jeff was brought in to lead for the Bank in its successful appeal to the Court of Appeal [2016] EWCA Civ 457 after it had lost at first instance.