Parmar v HSBC Private Bank (UK) Ltd, Court of Appeal - Queen's Bench Division, September 24, 2018, [2018] EWHC 2468 (QB)

Resolution Date:September 24, 2018
Issuing Organization:Queen's Bench Division
Actores:Parmar v HSBC Private Bank (UK) Ltd
 
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Case No: HQ17X03269

Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWHC 2468 (QB)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: Monday, 24th September 2018

Before:

HIS HONOUR JUDGE NICHOLAS COOKE QC

(Sitting as a Judge of the High Court)

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Between:

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Andrew Stafford QC and Nathaniel Barber (instructed by Doyle Clayton LLP)

for the Claimant

David Craig QC and Amy Rogers (instructed by Allen & Overy LLP)

for the Defendant

Hearing date: 4th July 2018

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JudgmentHis Honour Judge Nicholas Cooke QC

A. INTRODUCTION

  1. This is an application for summary judgment by HSBC Private Bank Limited (``the Defendant Bank'') against Rajesh Parmar (``the Claimant Employee'') with respect to both a claim and a counterclaim.

  2. The background facts may be shortly stated. Until 2012 the Claimant Employee was the head of the Defendant Bank's Global South Asian Diaspora Department (``GSAD''). GSAD's activities during the period when the Claimant Employee was its global head are the subject of ongoing criminal and regulatory investigations, concerned, amongst other matters, with the provision of assistance to clients to evade U.S. tax. Significantly, in 2013 when a former client of GSAD pleaded guilty in the U.S. to a criminal conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Inland Revenue Service, the Claimant Employee, identified as ``U.K. Banker A'', was referred to as an ``unindicted co-conspirator''.

  3. The Defendant Bank terminated the Claimant Employee's employment in March 2012. At that time the Claimant Employee was potentially entitled to additional remuneration, in the form of the vesting of unvested stock and deferred cash awards.

  4. In 2016 the Defendant Bank's Group Remuneration Committee (``the Remuneration Committee'') refused the Claimant Employee a deferred cash award and declined to vest the unvested stock. Both potential benefits were clearly expressed to be discretionary. It is with a view to recovering the same that the Claimant Employee brings this action. The Defendant Bank asserts that in so doing the Claimant Employee recognisably has no realistic prospects of success and further that before one gets to a consideration of the merits, the Claimant Employee faces an insuperable bar in the form of exclusion clauses embodied in the HSBC Share Plan and a settlement agreement agreed (after the Claimant Employee received independent advice from Mishcon de Reya) in 2012.

  5. The Defendant Bank further seeks judgment on its counterclaim, for an inquiry as to damages, alleging that the Claimant Employee has breached its contract with the Defendant Bank by bringing this claim.

  6. As I indicated at the hearing, I will deal in this judgement with both the exclusion clauses and merits arguments with respect to the claim, in that order and with the counterclaim.

    B. THE PRINCIPLES APPLICABLE TO SUMMARY JUDGMENT

  7. I detect no dispute between the parties as to the principles applicable to applications for summary judgment, which are common to applications in relation to claims and counterclaims. The well-known principles were helpfully summarised in paragraphs 21 to 23 of the Defendant Bank's skeleton argument. For present purposes it suffices for me to stress that I have well in mind the need to identify a realistic as opposed to a fanciful or merely arguable prospect of success; that an application for summary judgment must not amount to a mini trial (but the utility of the summary judgment procedure should not be destroyed by a refusal to resolve easily resolvable disputes); that short points of construction and/or law may be fairly and properly resolved by way of summary judgment and that regard should be had to both available and reasonably anticipatable evidence.

  8. I also bear in mind that the summary disposal of potentially costly and time-consuming litigation by way of summary judgment, if it can be done without injustice, is wholly consistent with the overriding objective.

    C. THE EXCLUSION CLAUSES

  9. With...

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