High Court issues Judgment in Global Technologies Racing v Alex Thomson Racing

Adam Griffiths successfully represented the Claimants in a high-profile commercial contract/shipbuilding action focused on elite offshore yacht racing component design and manufacture.  The claim culminated in a multi-week High Court trial in which Counsel preserved  the Claimants’ significant reputation as experts in their field.

Counsel, instructed by Freeths LLP represented Global Technologies Racing, a constructor who specialises in manufacturing complex and unique carbon–fibre components for yacht and motor racing teams.  The cutting–edge carbon-fibre hydrofoils they built were destined to be used in the solo circumnavigation yacht race: The Vendée Globe.  The dispute was against Britain’s leading offshore yacht racing team, Alex Thomson Racing, represented by Peter Land of Atkin Chambers.

The Claimants successfully sued for significant contractual damages and defended a counterclaim in respect of fitness and quality of goods.  Judgment was handed down on Friday 4 December 2020 and can be found here.

In what was procedurally dense litigation spanning some three years, the trial followed an unsuccessful late Defence application relating to disclosure, further witness evidence and amended pleadings.

The Defendant’s director, Alex Thomson, was favourite to win the Vendée Globe non–stop around the world race which began on 8 November 2020. This gave the proceedings a particularly high profile, with Alex declaring he was dropping out of the race for unconnected reasons around the time judgment was delivered.

The hearing was one of the first ever ‘hybrid trials’ of the coronavirus period, featuring a combination of live and remote witness evidence from across the Atlantic, as well as remote closing submissions and video–broadcast public gallery access.  In unusual circumstances the trial was not heard in the Rolls Building, Mercantile Court but was instead transferred at the last minute to Manchester’s modern court complex, better able to accommodate the number of lay and expert witnesses as well as the required technology to broadcast proceedings.  Civil Litigation Brief reported on proceedings here.

The work reflects Adam’s commercial contract and commercial Chancery practice which often features maritime subject matter.  The Legal 500 (2021) ranked Adam as a Rising Star in commercial litigation , noting that ‘counsel conveys his advice in a concise and commercial manner, and can hold his own in court against counsel of significantly greater seniority.’

If you would like to know more about the case, Adam’s practice, or how Queen Square Chambers may be able to assist with any ongoing commercial litigation, do not hesitate to contact the Clerks.