Anneliese Day QC has successfully resisted a strike out/summary judgment application made by PwC against her client BTI 2014 LLC; a claim against the wholly owned subsidiary of BAT Industries plc in respect of  PwC’s audit of the 2007 and 2008 annual accounts of Windward Prospects Limited (then known as Arjo Wiggins Appleton Limited).

The claim had been stayed for several years pending the outcome of related proceedings by BTI against AWA’s former parent company, Sequana SA and the directors of AWA. BTI issued a claim to recover large dividends paid by AWA to Sequana in December 2008 (€443m) and May 2009 (€135m).

PwC attempted to strike out the claim by BTI, or alternatively to seek summary judgment in its favour. It argued that the claim was an abuse of process, had no real chance of success and the damages claimed were for losses that, if they were incurred, fell outside the scope of PwC’s duty to AWA. It also claimed that AWA had suffered no loss and that the claim was bound to fail.

Mr Justice Fancourt held there had been no abuse of process; that there was clearly an arguable case that the terms of the PwC audit report had been relied on; and that the scope of PwC’s duty extended to the losses claimed.  A copy of the judgment is here.