ICE Architects LTD (“ICE”) v Empowering People Inspiring Communities (“EPIC”)
Citation:  EWHC 281 (QB)
The Claimant (ICE) provided services to the Defendant (EPIC) pursuant to contract. When ICE brought proceedings for sums allegedly due pursuant to that contract, EPIC raised a limitation defence. The first instance court held a preliminary issue hearing on limitation and held that ICE’s claim was time-barred.
ICE appealed. Matthew Finn was engaged to represent EPIC on appeal. The appeal hearing was concerned with when ICE’s cause of action accrued. EPIC argued that ICE’s cause of action accrued when ICE provided its services, according to the general rule laid down in Coburn v Colledge, and that the obiter statements of Lord Neuberger in LSC v Henthorn were supportive of EPIC’s position. ICE argued that its cause of action accrued much later (namely 30 days after it had issued an invoice in respect of the sums in question) because there was a ‘special term’ in the parties’ contract which displaced the general rule derived from Coburn. ICE relied, inter alia, upon Henry Boot v Alstom and Levin v Tannenbaum in support of its position. The judge dismissed ICE’s appeal, holding that the general rule derived from Coburn was applicable and that Henry Boot and Levin were both distinguishable.