- When is a contract made? High Court goes back to basics in complex aircraft maintenance case (LNT Aviation Ltd v Airbus Helicopters UK Ltd)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Commercial analysis: In a complex dispute about helicopter maintenance between an OEM and operator, the High Court’s judgment serves as a timely reminder of how to determine whether a legally binding contract has been formed, and if so on what terms. This case delves into the key aspects of contract formation, the intention and conduct of the parties, the language used in correspondence and commercial reality. No less than five alternative arguments brought by the claimant to establish a contract were flatly rejected. The judge gave helpful guidance on the required steps for a contract to be formed, focusing on the certainty of terms—a key factor in showing an intention to create legal relations. A claim for negligent misstatement was also thrown out to the dismay of the claimant whose helicopter was grounded due to an airworthiness risk of neither party’s making. Written by Alastair Long (senior associate) and Afolabi Tayo (associate) at Clyde & Co LLP.
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