Over the six-month period from July to December 2021, as the world increasingly moved out from under the restrictions imposed as a result the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses felt a sense of renewed optimism over the future, unaware that there was another significant, and perhaps paradigm-shifting, event on the near horizon.
Although the full extent of the impact (be it political, social, human, or economic) of the Ukraine conflict is not yet known, given the significance of access to energy sources (in particular, natural gas) to international relations, it is inevitable that the Energy & Natural Resources sector will feel repercussions over the coming months. Already, our clients are looking more and more closely at their contractual relationships to identify risks and seek to reduce their exposure to extreme market changes and the consequences of wide-reaching sanctions imposed against Russian entities and individuals. It seems reasonable to expect a rise in the number of contracts falling into distress, leading to strained relations and contractual discord, over the coming months.
Against that background, in this 7th edition of the E&NR Case Law update, we focus on key cases for entities in the E&NR sector from the second half of 2021. The cases in question, whilst arising out of disputes in the E&NR sector, are also of broader application, and include issues such as clarification of the circumstances in which a court will be persuaded to correct a contract for mistake, the interpretation of contractual notice provisions, the English court's approach to related court or arbitral proceedings, clarification of the scope of a claimant's duty to mitigate its loss, the recoverability of litigation funding costs in arbitration proceedings, and the threshold criteria for a representative class action.