The Commercial Court (8 July 2019) handed down judgment in N v The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc [2019] EWHC 1770 (Comm), one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 cases for 2019.  Following a 5 week trial, the Commercial Court comprehensively rejected all the claims against RBS.  The judgment represents the latest instalment in this long running litigation, following interim proceedings before Burton J and the Court of Appeal (see [2017] 1 W.L.R. 3938).

N is an authorised payment institution providing foreign exchange and payment services.  It banked with RBS.  In October 2015, RBS froze accounts held by N and terminated the banking relationship without notice.  RBS suspected money laundering.  N commenced proceedings for breach of contract and negligence challenging the lawfulness of RBS’s actions.  N’s case was, inter alia, that RBS had failed to exercise is contractual discretion rationally and reasonably.

Mr Justice Robin Knowles CBE concluded that the circumstances fully justified the steps taken by RBS; whilst RBS’s decision had major consequences for N, its decision was a proper response to circumstances for which N, not RBS, must take responsibility.

The judgment can be found here.

Nicholas Medcroft QC represented RBS, together with John Wardell QC of Wilberforce Chambers, instructed by Dentons (Daren Allen).