THE NEED FOR CLARITY IN THE ECONOMIC TORTS

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Abstract:

This analysis explores the attempts by the claimants to sue receivers who had been invalidly appointed over them. Though no fault as such was alleged, the claimants were aggrieved by the receivers' handling of the “run off” of the claimants' contracts, leading to less satisfactory outcomes than the claimants (through their liquidators) would otherwise have achieved. The trial judge had ordered the defendants to account for the claimants' property which they still retained and ordered the delivery of assets. However in addition he ordered the defendants to pay damages and the issue was what cause of action merited damages; the claimants raising two exotic claims: “conversion” of the claimants' contract rights and, in the alternative, the economic tort of “interference” with the claimants' contract rights. Although the Court of Appeal unanimously rejected the first claim (as had the trial judge), rather surprisingly there was a difference of opinion as to the application of the economic tort alleged in the alternative. The case reveals yet again the need for a coherent approach to the economic torts and for caution in accepting vague extensions to established liability.

Keywords: Company law; Tort; economic torts; unlawful interference with trade

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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