Euroafrica Shipping Lines Co Ltd v Zeluga Polska SA (2004)
A solicitor who was employed on a general retainer had the necessary authority to do all that was necessary to bring a piece of litigation to a conclusion.
Zegluga Polska SA (Z) applied for a stay of two sets of proceedings pending the determination of issues relating to the constitution of the shareholdings and management of Euroafrica Shipping Lines Co Ltd (E) in Polish proceedings. E and Z both maintained that the other had committed an event of default under a shareholders agreement and each had commenced proceedings against the other. Z sought a stay of both sets of proceedings on the basis that E had been unable to take any material steps in the litigation or instruct lawyers since the end of 2002 because it's management board and supervisory board were not properly constituted in accordance with the laws of Poland. E argued that it had instructed solicitors to act in the litigation under a general retainer before the end of 2002 and that the retainer continued until it was terminated.
(1) A solicitor who was employed on a general retainer in a piece of litigation had the necessary authority to do all that was necessary to bring the litigation to a conclusion. Donsland Ltd v Van Hoogstraten & ors (2002) EWCA Civ 253, (2002) PNLR 26 applied. Difficulties in obtaining instructions did not effect their authority to act. (2) The issues that arose in the Polish proceedings as to the constitution of the shareholdings and management of E were irrelevant to the present proceedings. There would be prejudice to both parties in imposing a stay because the matter would be delayed with opportunity for further acrimony between them.