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Contact

Contact with chambers should be made through the Practice Management Team. They are happy to discuss client requirements and provide further information on such matters as the expertise and experience of individual members, fees, working practices and languages spoken. We have members able to work in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Greek and Chinese (Mandarin).

Outside working hours, a member of our team is always available to be contacted on matters of an urgent nature. Contact should be made using the Chambers main number or email.

To contact our Singapore office, please contact our BD Director, Asia, Rachel Foxton. Out of office hours calls will automatically be diverted to our clerking team in London.

London

20 Essex Street
London
WC2R 3AL

enquiries@twentyessex.com
t: +44 20 7842 1200
DX 0009 Lond/Chan Lane

Singapore

28 Maxwell Road
#02-03
Maxwell Chambers Suites
Singapore 069120

singapore@twentyessex.com
t: +65 62257230

Contact

Contact with chambers should be made through the Practice Management Team. They are happy to discuss client requirements and provide further information on such matters as the expertise and experience of individual members, fees, working practices and languages spoken. We have members able to work in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Greek and Chinese (Mandarin).

Outside working hours, a member of our team is always available to be contacted on matters of an urgent nature. Contact should be made using the Chambers main number or email.

To contact our Singapore office, please contact our BD Director, Asia, Rachel Foxton. Out of office hours calls will automatically be diverted to our clerking team in London.

London

20 Essex Street
London
WC2R 3AL

enquiries@twentyessex.com
t: +44 20 7842 1200
DX 0009 Lond/Chan Lane

Singapore

28 Maxwell Road
#02-03
Maxwell Chambers Suites
Singapore 069120

singapore@twentyessex.com
t: +65 62257230

15/07/2020

Landmark case on reflective loss: Marex Financial Ltd v Sevilleja

The Supreme Court has today handed down judgment in the landmark case of Marex Financial Ltd v Sevilleja [2020] UKSC 31. The decision significantly narrows the scope of the principle that “reflective loss” cannot be recovered. The principle is now limited to claims by shareholders that, by reason of actionable loss suffered by their company, the value of their shares, or of the distributions they receive as shareholders, has been diminished (§89).

The judgment of the Court of Appeal [2019] QB 173 was the first case in this jurisdiction in which the reflective loss principle was applied to a claimant which was purely a creditor of a company. The extension of the principle to such cases, the Supreme Court held, “has the potential to have a significant impact on the law and on commercial life” (§77). The rule had become “difficult to confine”. Indeed, in the phrase of one academic commentator (Professor Andrew Tettenborn), the rule was likened to “some ghastly legal Japanese knotweed” (§121). The Supreme Court was unanimous in deciding that the Court of Appeal’s decision should be reversed. The reflective loss principle no longer applies at all to claims by creditors (whether they are also shareholders or not).

However, although there was unanimity that Marex’s appeal should be allowed, there was no consensus on the question of how far the Court should go in clipping the wings of the reflective loss principle. This led to a 4:3 split. The majority (led by Lord Reed) decided to retain the reflective loss principle as a bright line legal rule, albeit it should be confined to the narrow ambit established in Prudential Assurance Co Ltd v Newman Industries Ltd (No 2) [1982] Ch 204 (§§89, 92, 109). The minority (led by Lord Sales) would have been more radical and, in effect, abolished the rule entirely (§§194-197).

Following the Supreme Court’s judgment, large swathes of authority will fall away, including Giles v Rhind [2003] Ch 618, Perry v Day [2005] 2 BCLC 405 and Gardner v Parker [2004] 2 BCLC 554, all of which were wrongly decided (§89). The speeches in Johnson v Gore Wood & Co [2002] 2 AC 1, apart from Lord Bingham’s, should also no longer be followed insofar as they relate to the reflective loss principle and are inconsistent with the majority’s decision (§§67, 89). This is true of Lord Millett’s speech in particular. It was Lord Millett who “paved the way” for the expansion of the reflective loss principle beyond the narrow ambit of the rule in Prudential (§51). The Supreme Court has reversed that expansion in very clear terms.

David Lewis QC and Richard Greenberg appeared for the Respondent.

Read the judgment.

Webinar

Hear directly from David Lewis QC , Richard Greenberg and Philip Jones (Mackrell Solicitors) who appeared for the Respondent at our webinar next week.

Thursday 23 July 2020 | 11:00 – 11:40 (BST)

More information here.

Relevant members
David Lewis QC Richard Greenberg
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