Foreign currency claims
Produced in partnership with Aileen McErlean of Hardwicke Chambers
Foreign currency claims

The following Dispute Resolution practice note produced in partnership with Aileen McErlean of Hardwicke Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Foreign currency claims
  • Why bring a claim in a foreign currency?
  • Relevant case law
  • Principles to apply to determine when a claim can be brought in a foreign currency
  • Exceptions
  • Choice of currency
  • What principles will the courts apply?
  • Currency fluctuation
  • How to bring a claim in a foreign currency
  • Challenging a claim in a foreign currency

Foreign currency claims

Why bring a claim in a foreign currency?

Bringing a claim in a foreign currency may be advantageous for claimants, particularly when dealing with claims involving complex international financial transactions. However, there are also pitfalls in bringing such a claim, especially during times when there are severe currency fluctuations. It is therefore something which needs to be carefully considered in conjunction with the client.

Bringing a foreign currency claim should be considered:

  1. in contractual claims where payments or accounts under the contract were expressed in a foreign currency

  2. if the claimant’s usual currency is a foreign currency

  3. if the claimant has suffered a loss in a foreign currency (eg repairs or remedial measures were paid for by the claimant in a foreign currency)

Relevant case law

The position in relation to foreign currency claims changed radically as a consequence of the House of Lords decision in Miliangos v George Frank (Textiles). In Miliangos, the claimant (a Swiss seller) contracted with English buyers to supply goods at a price expressed in Swiss francs and payable to a Swiss bank. When the buyers failed to pay, the claimant commenced an action in England for the sums due under the contract converted to Sterling at the date of breach. The claimant later applied to amend his claim to seek judgment in Swiss francs in the alternative.

Prior to this judgment,

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