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Wheels of justice come around for Big Bus


On 15 December 2021, Eady J handed down judgment following a four day trial of liability and causation in a claim brought by Mr Mahmood, a Pakistani businessman, against The Big Bus Company, well-known operators of double decker bus tours. The claim was for negotiating damages for breach of a commitment given in a heads of terms document in 2001, at which time the parties were considering launching a joint venture bus tour operation in Dubai. The commitment was that Big Bus would not circumvent Mr Mahmood in Dubai. Although the parties did proceed to establish an operation in Dubai at the time, their relationship soured, and the Judge found that in 2004, the defendant facilitated the establishment of a new bus tour operation in Dubai, cutting Mr Mahmood out in the process.

The Judge found that the heads of terms document was governed by English law, was binding in relevant part, and that although the early years of the claim were time barred, the defendant’s continued involvement in the operation of the new venture in Dubai constituted a continuing breach of its commitment not to circumvent Mr Mahmood. The Judge also found that the anticircumvention commitment in the heads of terms was in substance a valuable asset, the breach of which should sound in negotiating damages, applying the Supreme Court’s decision in Morris-Garner v One Step (Support) Limited [2018] UKSC 20.

The proceedings will now continue to the quantum phase.

The Judgment is here.

Daniel Piccinin represented Mr Mahmood, instructed by Addleshaw Goddard.