Mahmood v The Big Bus Company. At cruise-speed getting to choice of law under the Rome Convention.

Mahmood v The Big Bus Company [2021] EWHC 3395 (QB) is a good illustration of the applicable law process under the 1980 Rome Convention and its inclusion on the blog is mostly for pedagogic /teaching purposes. It even might be a good illustration of the bootstrap principle (meaning an issue on the very existence of the contract needs to be determined by the putative lex contractus) except [94] parties agree that whatever the conclusion as to the applicable law, UAE law can be deemed to be the same as English law in relation to the validity, construction, and effect of the Heads of Terms.

On 27 July 2001, during discussions in London regarding a possible joint venture to operate tour buses in Dubai, the parties signed a document entitled “Heads of Terms”.

Claimant says the Heads of Terms gave rise to a binding contract between the parties, which the Defendant subsequently breached.  The claim is resisted by the Defendant, arguing that, whether assessed under the law of England and Wales or under the law of the UAE, the claim is time-barred.  In the alternative, the Defendant contends there was no binding contract between the parties, or, if there was, that it was superseded by events that took place in 2002, or that the Claimant acted in repudiatory breach of any such contract, whereas the Defendant itself did not breach a contractual obligation owed to the Claimant.  It further disputes that there is any basis for the damages claimed by the Claimant in these proceedings.

The blog’s interest in in the first Q only and this is where [65] ff Eady J does a good job at applying the Convention without verbosity. Reference is best made to the judgment itself.

Geert.

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