The High Court has allowed an appeal against orders for summary judgment in an electricity oversupply dispute and emphasised that a Court is required to bring its independent judgment to bear in determining a disputed issue or claim and cannot simply adopt a party’s skeleton argument as containing the Court’s reasoning.
The Court considered appeals against orders for summary judgment dismissing claims brought by Fine Lady Bakeries against its electricity supplier (EDF) and meter operator (E.ON) in respect of a £1.5million overcharge of electricity relating to the misconfiguration of an electricity meter. The Court found that the judgment of the Court below, which had adopted the skeleton arguments of EDF and E.ON as forming the main part of the Court’s reasoning, was unjust for serious irregularity and wrong and accordingly liable to be set aside on appeal under CPR r. 52.21(3). The Court below had failed to engage with the arguments raised by Fine Lady Bakeries, to demonstrate independent analysis or to explain and give reasons why the claimant’s arguments had been dismissed. Nothing in the overriding objective justified a court proceeding to give judgment in this way. The High Court went on to consider the matter afresh and concluded that the claims were inappropriate for summary judgment, raising complex issues of law and fact in a developing area of law (the interplay between private law obligations and the industry participants’ regulatory obligations in the context of liberalised energy markets). The orders for summary judgment were set aside and the summary judgment applications dismissed. The claims will now proceed to trial.
The judgment can be found here.
Tom Mountford acted for the successful Appellant, Fine Lady Bakeries.