Farmer Wins Appeal in £46,000 Feed Grain Contracts Dispute

FarmA farmer who was ordered to pay damages of more than £46,000 by an arbitrator for his alleged breach of contracts to supply feed wheat has won the backing of the Court of Appeal in his fight to avoid enforcement of the alleged debt.

In two separate contracts, the farmer was said to have agreed to supply more than 900 metric tons of grain to an agricultural wholesaler. The latter successfully argued before the arbitrator that he had not delivered all of the wheat required and was awarded £46,601 in damages.

The farmer denied that he had entered into the second contract, pointing out that he did not in fact grow the variety of grain specified. However, the High Court later gave the wholesaler permission to enforce the arbitrator’s decision as a judgment debt and the farmer’s challenge to that order was rejected.

In allowing his appeal against the enforcement order, the Court of Appeal found that he had a real prospect of establishing that he had not entered into the second contract and that, in that respect, he had also not submitted to the arbitrator’s jurisdiction. His challenge to the arbitrator’s award thus raised issues which were fit for trial. The parties were left to agree an order in the light of the Court’s decision.