Pope Transport Ltd v Goodfellow (Termination of contract)

This case concerned a claim for financial losses arising out of damage caused to a profit earning chattel. The chattel in question was a lorry, which had been rendered unroadworthy following its involvement in a fatal road traffic accident, caused by the admitted negligence of the defendant.

The claimant alleged that in consequence of the damage to the lorry, a very valuable three year haulage contract, specifically for that particular lorry, had been terminated. The accident had occurred only two months into that three year contract. Damages were claimed for the loss of profits that would have been earned for the remainder of the contract.

The case was referred to IE by the parties’ solicitors at a very early stage: before the issue of proceedings and before much in the way of costs had been incurred by either side. The claim required consideration principally of two issues, firstly the extent to which by taking reasonable steps the claimant could have avoided the termination of the contract and the resulting loss of profits and secondly, what in fact the net amount of those profits in fact was. Following careful pre-hearing management and the exchange of detailed information by the parties in relation to those issues, the case was successfully evaluated and settled during the course of a one day hearing.

This case demonstrated clearly the benefits of the service provided by IE. The claimant’s claim was settled on terms acceptable to both sides within a period of just a few months, without the need for either party to go to court and without even the issue of proceedings. The savings for the parties, in terms of costs and time, were considerable.

Evaluator: Ian Ridd