Tate and Lyle Distribution v Greater London Council: 1982

The defendants were liable to the claimants for having failed to dredge silt which they had caused to be accumulated when constructing new piers for the Woolwich ferry and which had obstructed the claimants’ use of their barge moorings. The result had been that the claimants themselves had had to dredge the silt and, as part of their claim, they claimed managerial and supervisory expenses referable to that operation.
Held: The expenditure of management time by a company was a proper head of loss. Although difficult, it was possible to record the expenditure of management time and the court was not prepared to proceed on the basis of allowing 1% of the claim which was ‘pure speculation’. Since no evidence was adduced to quantify the expenditure of management time in that case the claim failed.
Forbes J said: ‘I have no doubt that the expenditure of managerial time in remedying an actionable wrong done to a trading concern can properly form the subject matter of a head of special damage. In a case such as this it would be wholly unrealistic to assume that no such additional managerial time was in fact expended. I would also accept that it must be extremely difficult to quantify. But modern office arrangements permit of the recording of the time spent by managerial staff on particular projects. I do not believe that it would have been impossible for the plaintiffs in this case to have kept some record to show the extent to which their trading routine was disturbed by the necessity for continual dredging sessions.’
The court rejected a submission that, when considering an award of interest under the 1838 Act, the Court should look at what the receiving party would in fact have done with the money if it had been paid earlier. Forbes J said: ‘I feel satisfied that in commercial cases the interest is intended to reflect the rate at which the plaintiff would have had to borrow money to supply the place of that which was withheld. I am also satisfied that one should not look at any special position in which the plaintiff may have been; one should disregard, for instance, the fact that a particular plaintiff, because of his personal situation, could only borrow money at a very high rate or, on the other hand, was able to borrow at specially favourable rates. The correct thing to do is to take the rate at which plaintiffs in general could borrow money.’
The particular Plaintiff’s personal situation was irrelevant: ‘the proper question is: At what rate could the plaintiff borrow the required sum and not what return could the plaintiff have expected if he had invested it? It is immaterial, therefore, to consider, as Mr. Davies [Counsel for the defendant] suggested, whether the plaintiff could have used the money profitably in his own business or what rate of profit he could have expected to achieve by so doing.’


Forbes J


[1982] 1 WLR 149


Judgments Act 18838


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedThe Kumanovo 1998
The court was requested to apply the standard allowance to a claim by cargo owners arising out of a collision.
Held: The court would not do so. There was no evidence as to what the cargo owners did as a result of the loss of their cargo, and . .
CitedCarisbrooke Shipping Cv5 v Bird Port Ltd ComC 13-Sep-2005
. .
CitedAdmiral Management Services Ltd v Para-Protect Europe Ltd and Others ChD 4-Mar-2002
The claimants suspected the defendants of wrongfully using their confidential information. Their staff made an initial investigation. They obtained a search and seizure order; and the material seized was examined by the staff. A Tomlin Order was . .
CitedStandard Chartered Bank v Pakistan National Shipping Corporation; Seaways Maritime Limited; Oakprime International Limited; Arvind Mehra and Sgs United Kingdom Limited CA 26-Jan-2001
As part of its attempt to mitigate its loss caused by deceit perpetrated in relation to it by the defendants, the claimant bank presided over the sale of a cargo of bitumen in Vietnam. To do this, it sent one of its officers, to Vietnam on two . .
CitedHorace Holman Group Ltd v Sherwood International Group Ltd TCC 2001
The defendants were to pay damages after failing to provide an adequate software package. The claimants included a claim for wasted time by their directors and staff in struggling with the inadequacies of the software provided.
Held: The claim . .
CitedAerospace Publishing Ltd and Another v Thames Water Utilities Ltd CA 11-Jan-2007
A substantial private archive of valuable books had been damaged when the defendant’s water mains burst. The court was asked to assess the value.
Held: The water company’s appeal failed save to a small extent. The articles were of substantial . .
CitedR+V Versicherung Ag v Risk Insurance and Reinsurance Solutions Sa and others ComC 27-Jan-2006
It had held that the defendant insurance intermediaries were liable to the claimants, a German reinsurance company, because of a conspiracy to defraud the claimants on the part of one of the defendants’ employees. The court had to decide issues of . .
CitedSabic UK Petrochemicals Ltd v Punj Lloyd Ltd TCC 10-Oct-2013
Dispute as to the approach applicable on calculation of statutory interest on judgment.
Held: Interest was awarded at the normal commercial rate. The correct question was how the Claimant ‘could have put itself in possession of the funds that . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 10 May 2022; Ref: scu.230133