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Trafigura Beheer BV v Renbrandt Ltd [2017] EWHC 3100 (Comm)

In this case the Claimant sold a cargo of gasoil to the Defendant. The Defendant subsequently filed a petition before the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, alleging that the cargo was off specification. The Claimant in turn commenced proceedings in Nigeria seeking a declaration that the Defendant acted maliciously in filing that petition and claiming damages, and in England seeking a declaration of non-liability under the contract. 

In a judgment handed down on 1 December 2017, Lionel Persey QC (sitting as a Judge of the Commercial Court) granted the Claimant summary judgment on its claim. The Judge held that the cargo was within the contractual specifications, as confirmed by a certificate of quality which was agreed under the contract to be final and binding, and that there was no real prospect of the Defendant defending the claim. The Judge also held that it was appropriate to grant declaratory relief as a matter of discretion, since such a declaration was likely to be of assistance to the Nigerian courts (in circumstances where the contract was governed by English law).

Luke Pearce appeared on behalf of the Claimant (instructed by Ince & Co LLP). Angharad Parry appeared on behalf of the Defendant (instructed by Walker Morris LLP).