The Court of Appeal (Peter Jackson, Andrews, and Whipple LJJ) has produced an authoritative judgment on limitation in the context of services contracts, agreeing with Gavin Kealey KC and Henry Moore on all points which they argued (including a Respondent’s Notice argument, which did not, in the event, arise).
Andrews LJ, upholding a judgment of Jacobs J, held that in a contract for services which provides for the delivery of an invoice and payment on a particular date or within a certain time thereafter, the starting point of the analysis is the established principle that the right to payment accrues as soon as the work is complete (). It is from that moment that the limitation period runs, unless there are clear words to contrary effect ().
The result was that a £50 million claim was time barred.
The judgment also contains an important statement of practice for practitioners in the Commercial Court seeking permission to appeal from the first-instance judge: draft grounds of appeal are essential, and their absence may in itself lead to the refusal of permission (-).
Gavin Kealey KC and Henry Moore were instructed by Chris Webber and Kate Wakeham of Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP.
To view a copy of the judgment please click here.