David Head QC and Lisa Lacob succeed in resisting summary judgment application by arm of the Libyan government concerning the alleged misappropriation of funds for pilot training

In Executive Authority for Air Cargo and Special Flights v Prime Education Limited & others [2020] EWHC 1985 David Head QC and Lisa Lacob (instructed by Nick Haworth of Stewarts Law) appeared for the successful respondents to a summary judgment application.

Executive Authority for Air Cargo and Special Flights (EACS) is an entity owned by the government of Libya which provides flights for senior government ministers. In 2015 EACS agreed to pay c£15 million to the Defendant, a UK educational and training consultancy, for purposing of it arranging training programmes for around 250 student pilots. EACS claims that Prime Education acted in breach of that agreement and in breach of trust by transferring the funds out of a trust account in the UK to an associate company in Turkey. Prime Education defends the claim on the basis of the terms of an amendment agreement entered into between the parties in 2016. EACS’ argument on the application was that the amendment argument is invalid or ineffective under both Libyan Law and English law, including because it was unauthorised, constituted a disposal of state funds without state approval contrary to Libyan regulations and because Prime Education provided no consideration for the amendments.

The application was heard remotely. After further argument at a hearing to settle consequential matters, Senior Master Fontaine handed down judgment on 22 July 2020 dismissing the Claimant’s application and refusing to grant declaratory relief sought by EACS. The issues covered in the judgment include conflicts of evidence between foreign law experts, ostensible authority, the governing law of contracts under Article 4 of the Rome I Regulation and formal validity under Articles 1(f) and (g) of the Regulation, penalty clauses, the doctrine of consideration in the context of amendment agreements and promissory estoppel.

The full judgment can be found here.

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