Court Considers Validity of Option Agreements in Sian Participation Corp v Domidias Ltd: Analysis of Contractual Disputes and Conspiracy Claims

Citation: [2024] EWHC 458 (Comm)
Judgment on


In the High Court of Justice case, Sian Participation Corp (In Liquidation) & Anor v Domidias Limited & Anor, the court delves into various contractual disputes relating to option agreements for the acquisition of shares. The dispute required the court to interpret agreements, assess the reality of conspiracy claims, and ascertain whether certain claims should proceed to trial or be disposed of summarily. This article provides an analysis of the legal principles applied in this case.

Key Facts

The case concerns two option agreements, the 2012 Option Agreement and the alleged 2019 Option Agreement, regarding the right to acquire shares in Merbau Synergy Limited, a part of an investment branch holding a stake in FESCO. The agreements were a point of contention, particularly whether they were validly exercised or even existed. Additionally, the alleged broader conspiracy to take control of the shareholding of FESCO also factored into the considerations.

Summary Judgment

The court applied the principles of summary judgment which are designed to prevent a full trial if the claimant’s case has no realistic prospect of success. The key is to distinguish between a “realistic” and a “fanciful” claim, the former being more than merely arguable.

In adjudicating the dispute, the Court relied on the standards in Easyair Ltd v Opal Telecom Ltd and reiterated in Wood v Capita Insurance Services Ltd, highlighting an iterative process that considers both textual and contextual analysis.

Contractual Interpretation

For contractual interpretation, the principle that the objective meaning of the language chosen by the parties is key. The court examines the contract as a whole and takes into account the factual matrix to reach an understanding of what a reasonable person would have inferred from such language. The judgments in cases like Arnold v Britton and Wood v Capita Insurance Services Ltd were revisited to illustrate this approach.


The court considered when ratification may occur, specifically whether a director had authority, actual or ostensible, to commit a company. Discussion of ratification is pertinent when a director’s actions are later adopted by the company, potentially validating previously unauthorized actions.

Offers and Acceptance

The case reviewed principles concerning offers and acceptance in contract law, particularly whether acceptance of an offer was communicated effectively. The correspondence played a key role in establishing whether there was a meeting of the minds between the parties.

Conspiracy and Disclosure

Finally, the court addressed the issue of conspiracy and its impact on disclosure processes during litigation. Recognizing the importance of disclosure, especially in complex cases alleging covert actions or conspiracy, the court followed precedents such as Gulati v MGN Ltd to decide if non-disclosure of certain documents could significantly alter the outcome of the case.


The Court concluded that the 2012 Option Agreement expired on its terms, and there was no “realistic” basis to contend that an interim solution had been reached to protect the agreement from expiring. Moreover, the Claimants had no “realistic” prospect of establishing that the 2019 Option Agreement was concluded, as there was no evidence suggesting acceptance of the offer was communicated to Domidias.


In Sian Participation Corp & Anor v Domidias Limited & Anor, the court applied established legal principles to the facts before it to arrive at its conclusions. Despite meticulous counsel submissions, the court emphasized clarity in contractual language, intention, and the factual matrix over speculative positions. The decision reinforces the judiciary’s commitment to dismissing claims that lack substance and highlights the critical role of documentary evidence in contract disputes. The analysis of the purported conspiracy underscored the importance of a full disclosure process, though noting that speculative claims cannot hinge solely on hoped-for outcomes of disclosure.