Charles Fussell & Co LLP has been instructed to act for a major manufacturer of fire protection systems in the defence of a £1.7 million claim brought in the High Court by a substantial commercial organisation which was the ultimate customer of one of those systems. Some years previously, the client took over the business of the company which had originally produced the fire protection system and the contractor who had installed that system had gone into insolvent liquidation. The customer is therefore seeking to rely on various side agreements which it alleges were made directly between the client’s predecessor and customer and then between the client and customer over the course of a number of years.
The case raises several interesting legal questions, including the circumstances under which contracts can be made for the benefit of third parties, how contractual benefits and burdens may be transferred and how far promises of assistance by employees can be relied upon as evidence of contractual intention. Those issues will be relevant to all manufacturers who have sought to assist the ultimate customers of their products but find that they are on the receiving end of claims in circumstances where they are the only parties worth suing.
Charles Fussell & Co LLP has instructed Jonathan Selby of Keating Chambers.