Monday, 29 March 2010

Economic duress

A little off-piste for an IP blawg, perhaps, but Kolmar Group v Traxpo Enterprises [2010] EWHC 113 (Comm), a judgment of 1 February this year by Mr Justice Christopher Clarke, is  noteworthy. The defendants, having agreed a contract price, tried to bump it up when the claimants were in no position to resist – with an expensive ship hanging around in the port and a major customer anxious to get its hands on some methanol (which, given that the Chemistry Department at Oxford University tells me it is ‘[T]oxic by inhalation, ingestion or skin absorption’ is probaly not the best turn of phrase to use). So they forked out and then claimed restitution, which the court awarded to them.
That’s an interesting point of law to note (though hardly a novel one), and of course it’s not limited to shipping cases. It’s also potentially an attractive plot device for a work of fiction …

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