Baird Vs. MS Case_Judgement_L2.pdf - IN THE HIGH COURT OF...

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IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE 2000 Folio No 22 QUEEN‟S BENCH DIVISION COMMERCIAL COURT BETWEEN:- BAIRD TEXTILE HOLDINGS LIMITED Claimant And MARKS AND SPENCER Plc Defendant JUDGMENT OF THE HON Mr JUSTICE MORISON Mr Michael Brindle QC instructed by Herbert Smith of Exchange House, Primrose Street, London EC2A 2HS represented the Defendant/Applicant. Mr Richard field QC and Mr Charles Bear of counsel instructed by Freshfields of 65 Fleet Street, London EC4 represented the Claimant/Respondent. The attached text records my judgment and I direct that no further note or transcript need be made. Copies of this judgement are available in Word 6 for Windows on provision of a clean disc. Apply to the Judge‟s clerk, John Martin on 020 7947 6171
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MORISON J: 1. This is an application which is commonly and I think accurately called a reverse Order 14. In other words, it is an application by the Defendants for summary judgment, the effect of which, if granted, would be to bring these proceedings to an end. It is important to observe that there has, as yet, been no trial. There are issues of fact which remain unresolved. Essentially, it is the Defendant‟s contention that in the light of the written material the court can determine that the Claimants have no claim in law. 2. The Claimants [„Baird‟] are manufacturers of garments. They sold just under half of their total production to the Defendants, [M&S], the well known retail outlet. The other half of Baird‟s production was sold under their own brand name to other outlets. 3. Clothing is manufactured and sold on a seasonal basis. There is, approximately a twelve month lead time between the initial design stage and the time when the goods appear in the shops. Fashions come and go and it is not always possible to forecast how the market will move during this period. M&S, unlike other clothes‟ retailers buy their garments direct from manufacturers, such as Baird, rather than from wholesalers. They were, thus, able to offer garments at competitive prices. But in order to retain the flexibility that is required in the retail market in this sector, and in order to achieve good quality clothes at low prices, the relationship between the parties had to be a close one so that lines which were not selling well could be readily returned and new designs jointly developed, with sufficient factory capacity to enable successful or new lines to be produced rapidly. 4. Although not formally a partnership, the relationship between Baird and M&S was akin to it. At the least, Baird anticipated that this special relationship would continue on a long-term basis. They say that on the strength of this expectation they made investment decisions, such as acquiring new additional factory space. 5. The formal method which the parties adopted for the sale of the goods by Baird to M&S was a twice yearly order placed by M&S on Baird (for the Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer collections).
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