13 February 2014

The Football League was recently awarded rare interpleader relief in the Bristol Mercantile and Commercial Courts. The Football League was faced with competing claims from Watford FC and LNOC, a company which claimed to have purchased the right to some of Watford FC’s income stream from broadcasting rights deriving from the Football League.

Watford FC and LNOC were engaged in proceedings in the Commercial Court in London as to who was the correct recipient of the monies held by the Football League. The Football League, which disclaimed any interest in the money and which did not want to be the subject of proceedings by either competing party, made an interpleader application to the High Court to pay the money (and interest as it arose) into Court in exchange for immunity from suit in relation to the payment. The claimant company, LNOC, objected to the application on the basis that they wanted the Football League to remain potentially liable and resisted an order for the payment of the Football League’s costs (the usual order).

HHJ Havelock-Allan QC granted the interpleader application on the papers reserving the question of costs of the application to the final hearing of the underlying dispute in the Commercial Court. The Football League received its costs when the matter was decided before the Commercial Court.

Interpleader relief pursuant to the Rules of the Supreme Court (RSC Order 17) and the process under CPR Part 8 should be borne in mind where a party faces competing claims to monies to which it lays no claim.

The Football League was advised by Mark Gay and Chris Davies, from Burges Salmon's acclaimed Sport team.

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Jeremy Dickerson

Jeremy Dickerson Partner

  • Head of International 
  • Head of Intellectual Property, Media and Sport
  • Defamation and Reputation Management

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