Associated British Ports v Tata Steel UK Ltd

Contract – Construction. The Chancery Division held that a clause in a licence agreement, governing the use of a harbour, which had been made between the claimant, Associated British Ports, and the defendant company, Tata Steel, was a binding obligation to refer a dispute to arbitration. The court held that the alleged trigger event was not too uncertain, but that it would be for the arbitrator to decide whether the matters set out in Tata's letters, notifying the claimant of the trigger event, amounted to a 'major physical or financial change in circumstances', entitling Tata to a revision of the licence terms. Tata was also grated a stay of the proceedings, under s 9 of the Arbitration Act 1996.

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