London Underground Limited v Metronet Rail BCV (in PPP administration) and Limited and Metronet Rail SSL Limited (in PPP administration) (2008)

In a contract between London Underground Limited and the defendants, the defendants had to achieve upgrades of specified parts of the Underground within certain time limits and, for the purposes of the proceedings, it was assumed that they had failed to meet those time limits. The relevant provisions of the contract were convoluted. The central issue was whether London Underground Limited was entitled to serve Corrective Action Notices or whether those that they had served were valid or not. London Underground Limited argued in favour of the natural meaning of the wording that would have meant the notices were valid. The defendants argued for an interpretation that would require a re-writing of the contract.

The legal point central to this issue was whether a particular provision could mean what it said in the context of the other provisions of the contract. The judge concluded that, while there appeared to be no particular reason as to why the natural meaning of the provisions applied, the provisions were a choice that the parties could validly make and there was nothing unreasonable or absurd about them.