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Successful defence of Atlas Mara bank in immediate judgment application in the DIFC


H.E. Justice Ali Al Madhani today ordered a full trial of the claims and counterclaims in John Vitalo v Atlas Mara Management Services Limited [2018] CFI 018 (26 June 2018), having dismissed the claimant’s application for immediate judgment of two of his three claims.

The claimant, the former CEO of the defendant bank, sued for breach of contract arising out of the termination of his employment, including for unpaid leave and a failure to index link his living allowance. The claims, if successful, will be subject to a considerable penalty under Article 18 of the DIFC Employment Law.

His Excellency the Judge accepted the bank’s submissions that there was a serious issue to be tried including as to how much holiday the claimant in fact took in the material period, and whether or not as a matter of construction the indexation provision was a determination discretion in the hands of the bank. In so doing, His Excellency adopted the principles applicable to immediate judgment applications under RDC 24.1 as expressed by Sir David Steel DCJ in Papadopoulos v Standard Chartered Bank [2017] DIFC CFI 004 (27 February 2018). The trial of the matter will be heard over two days on 5 and 6 September 2018.

Farhaz Khan, assisted by Raj Matthew (pupil), represented the bank instructed by Jamie Liddington of Hadef & Partners.

Farhaz is ranked (tier 1) for commercial litigation in the UAE by Legal 500 2018.

His recent work includes acting for the successful bank in Papadopoulos v SCB (in that case, bringing a successful application for summary disposal of the claim) and for the successful defendant in Afkar Capital Limited v Fikry, concerning a shareholder dispute over the ownership of an ADGM regulated fund, and the first case to be heard in the ADGM Court.

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