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NatWest Markets plc and Mercuria Energy Europe Trading Limited v Bilta (UK) Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 680

The Court of Appeal has set aside Mr Justice Snowden’s judgment in this case ([2020] EWHC 546 (Ch)), including his findings of dishonesty, and has ordered that the case be retried before a different judge. 

The claim was brought by various companies in liquidation and their liquidators against NatWest Markets plc, known at the material time as The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, and its former indirect subsidiary, known at the time as RBS Sempra Energy Europe Limited. Mr Justice Snowden had allowed a claim for dishonest assistance and for knowing participation in fraudulent trading (s 213 Insolvency Act 1986) in relation to a large-scale missing trader VAT fraud in the carbon credit market in 2009.

In a joint judgment the Court of Appeal (Asplin, Andrews and Birss LJJ) address the impact of delay in giving judgment, here 19 months, on the principles governing appellate review of factual findings. A separate issue concerns vicarious liability where employees of one group company perform services for another.

You can view the full Judgment here.

Kenneth MacLean QC, Steven Elliott QC and Tamara Kagan, instructed by Slaughter and May, appeared for the Appellant/Second Defendant.

Orlando Gledhill QC and Oliver Butler, instructed by Rosenblatt Limited, appeared for the Claimants/Respondents