K Ltd v National Westminster Bank Plc and others: CA 19 Jul 2006

The bank had declined to act upon a customer’s instructions, reporting its suspicions of criminal activity to the police. Permission was given to proceed but only after a delay. The claimant customer sought its costs.
Held: The customer’s appeal failed. Parliament had laid down a proper procedure and the bank had followed it: ‘if a statute renders the performance of a contract illegal, the contract is frustrated and both sides are discharged from further performance. In a case, however, where a statute makes it temporarily illegal to perform the contract, the contract will only be suspended until the illegality is removed. That still means that, during the suspension, no legal right exists on which any claim to an injunction must depend. ‘ and ‘Parliament has struck a precise and workable balance of conflicting interests in the 2002 Act. It is, of course, true that to intervene between a banker and his customer in the performance of the contract of mandate is a serious interference with the free flow of trade. But Parliament has considered that a limited interference is to be tolerated in preference to allowing the undoubted evil of money-laundering to run rife in the commercial community.’

[2006] EWCA Civ 1039, Times 27-Jul-2006, [2007] 1 WLR 311, [2007] Bus LR 26
Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 328
England and Wales
CitedBank of Scotland v A Ltd and Others (Serious Fraud Office, Interested Party) CA 6-Feb-2001
A bank, having been informed that the activities of a customer involved money laundering, found itself in a position where, if it paid out the funds, it would face conviction, but if it failed to do so, it be found to be involved in tipping off the . .
CitedDa Silva, Regina v CACD 11-Jul-2006
The defendant appealed her conviction for assisting another to retain the proceeds of crime. The court considered what was meant by ‘suspicion’.
Held: For a defendant to be convicted of an offence under section 93A(1)(a) of the 1988 Act, he or . .
CitedAmalgamated Metal Trading Ltd v City of London Police Financial Investigation Unit and others ComC 3-Apr-2003
The company provided trading services in financial futures. They became concerned as to the integrity of their client, and its relationship with shareholders and other companies where parties came to be arrested for fraud in the US. They sought a . .
CitedNew Bridge Holdings v Barclays Bank 10-Feb-2006
The court suggested as a way of dealing with problems under the Act that attempts should be made: ‘to provide for some procedure whereby the arbitrary and capricious exercise of power should be prevented by the court being told, in confidence by the . .
CitedAshingdane v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-May-1985
The right of access to the courts is not absolute but may be subject to limitations. These are permitted by implication since the right of access ‘by its very nature calls for regulation by the State, regulation which may vary in time and place . .
See AlsoK Ltd v National Westminster Bank Plc and Another CA 22-May-2006
Application by respondent bank for security for costs. . .

Cited by:
CitedShah and Another v HSBC Private Bank (UK) Ltd QBD 26-Jan-2009
The claimants sought damages after delays by the bank in processing transfer requests. The bank said that the delays were made pending reports of suspected criminal activity. The bank’s delay had stigmatised the claimant causing further losses. The . .
CitedShah and Another v HSBC Private Bank (UK) Ltd CA 4-Feb-2010
Money laundering suspicion to be explained
The customer sought to sue his bank for failing to meet his cheque. The bank sought to rely on the 2002 Act, having reported suspicious activity on freezing the account. He now appealed against summary judgment given for the bank which had refused . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Banking, Crime

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.243324