Stopjoin Projects Limited v Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (HY) Limited [2014] EWHC 589 (TCC)

4 January 2014

This was a TCC case concerning the consequences of an attempted assignment of the benefit of a building contract, where there was an effective anti assignment clause. Andrew represented the Claimant (Stopjoin, the would be assignee). It was common ground that where there was an effective anti assignment clause in the building contract the House of Lords authority in Linden Gardens v Lenesta Sludge prevented a would be assignee from bringing a claim as assignor. The Defendant attempted to strike out the claim, or obtain summary Judgment.

The Claimant argued that it was nonetheless entitled to bring the claim in its own name as beneficiary of an implied trust. Since the original contracting party (the assignor, now in liquidation) was unwilling to bring proceedings, Stopjoin claimed that it was entitled to do so itself using the ‘Vandepitte procedure’. Balfour Beatty argued that there was no real prospect of Stopjoin succeeding on this argument at trial, that no trust could arise without an intention to create a trust and that the Vandepitte procedure was not applicable in commercial cases. The Judge, His Honour Judge Havelock-Allan QC found for the Claimant.