Regus (UK) Ltd v Epcot Solutions Ltd, Court of Appeal - Commercial Court, May 04, 2007, [2007] EWHC 938 (Comm)

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Regus (UK) Ltd v Epcot Solutions Ltd, Court of Appeal - Commercial Court, May 04, 2007, [2007] EWHC 938 (Comm)

2006-FOLIO 856

Neutral Citation Number: [2007] EWHC 938 (Comm)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEENS BENCH DIVISION

LONDON MERCANTILE COURT

Date: 4th May 2007

HIS HONOUR JUDGE MACKIE QC

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BETWEEN:

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Mr Thomas Braithwaite( instructed by Barlow Robbins) appeared for the Claimant.

Mr Richard Colbey (instructed by Direct Access) appeared for the Defendant

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JUDGMENT

This is a claim for unpaid fees for the use of serviced office accommodation and a very large counter-claim for mis-representation and breach of contract over allegedly defective air conditioning. The dispute is one of fact but also raises questions about the Claimant's standard terms of business and the effect upon them of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.

Background

The Claimant (``Regus'') is a UK company, part of a large group which supplies serviced office accommodation in some 400 locations in 50 countries. The Defendant (``Epcot'') is a small company providing professional IT training with ambitions to develop a franchise in that field. Epcot is controlled by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Charanjit Randhawa. After some years in the computer business, principally at IBM, Mr Randhawa developed what he calls ``Epcot Solutions unique 5 hour training concept providing a full day's IT training within the highest quality training environment in an extended half day''. The concept also involved a base in world class serviced offices which companies like Regus and its competitors are able to provide. He had bold ambitions for Epcot and, as he puts it, he left his previous company in November 2000 ``following the finalisation of the project plan and securing the finance and team to set-up the worlds finest commercial IT training environment by April 2001. The vision was to build a global organisation offering clients with the highest quality IT training for free or at cost effective prices to create life long learning; the company would radically change the global IT training and reseller markets''. Mr Randhawa decided that the right starting point would be Regus' Heathrow location, first because travel related industries were based close by, and, secondly, because potential franchise partners could readily visit Epcot after landing at Heathrow.

Mr Randhawa met Mr Deegan of Regus in January 2001 and agreed to take accommodation on a day to day basis from the end of March. On 21 August Epcot entered into an agreement with Regus for 12 months. In August 2002 Epcot renewed the agreement for 12 months, but on 5 November 2002 were informed that the Heathrow location was due to close from 28 February 2003. Regus's terms and conditions committed it to try to find alternative accommodation for customers. Epcot was offered alternative accommodation at Stockley Park, a business centre about 3 miles away. Mr ...

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