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Hay & Kilner Law Firm secures verdict for successful Claimant in High Court Declaratory Relief Proceedings

20 Jul 2020

Hay & Kilner Law Firm’s specialist construction and engineering team has helped a North East main contractor gain a successful outcome in the High Court.

Senior Associate Jan Rzedzian instructed barrister Simon Arnold of Kings Chambers to act on behalf of successful claimant Farad Maftoon in High Court declaratory relief proceedings.

The issue for the court to resolve was whether Mr Sayed (the First Defendant) had contracted with Mr Maftoon for building and fit out works at a restaurant in Yarm in his personal capacity or as agent for Lebaneat (Yarm) Limited, the Second Defendant.

In an earlier adjudication brought by Mr Maftoon against Mr Sayed, a jurisdictional argument was advanced  that Mr Sayed had entered into the building contract in his capacity as a director of the Second Defendant, rather than personally and consequently the adjudicator did not have jurisdiction to decide the dispute and should resign.   The adjudicator was swayed by Mr Sayed’s submissions and consequently resigned.

The question for the court to resolve on a Part 8 basis was whether Mr Sayed contracted personally or as an agent for the Second Defendant?.  In a comprehensive judgment handed down in July 2020, HHJ Davis-White QC agreed with the Claimant’s submissions and found that Mr Sayed had contracted with Mr Maftoon personally.

In just shy of 11 weeks, the court gave directions for determination of the issue, held a remote Skype trial, and delivered judgment notwithstanding the challenges the court and judiciary are facing with the ongoing pandemic.

This judgment is a useful illustration that the court can quickly and cost effectively resolve issues which may flow from adjudications or other Business and Property Court matters using the Part 8 procedure to order declaratory relief.

Jan-Rzedzian thumb

Especially with the prevailing economic uncertainty a party may be tempted to assert that the contracting entity was a limited company in attempt to avoid personal liability.  Any such approach can be readily resolved – as this case demonstrates – and unmeritorious arguments swiftly despatched.

Jan Rzedzian of Hay & Kilner Law Firm says: “In any commercial situation, it’s essential for all parties to fully understand the roles that they’re playing right from the start if they want to avoid confusion and potential problems further down the line.

“This is especially important for individuals who could both personal and professional roles within a given project, who need to make extra sure that they don’t leave any room for doubt about the context in which they’re acting.

“It’s been a pleasure to be working once again with Simon Arnold and the Kings Chambers team on this case – their levels of professionalism and expertise remain extremely impressive.”