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UK Supreme Court Allows Crane Bank’s Lawsuit Against Dfcu Bank Shareholders to Proceed

Crane Bank Uganda
Crane Bank Uganda

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The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom delivered a unanimous ruling allowing the lawsuit initiated by Crane Bank Limited against Dfcu Bank and its shareholders to proceed in a pivotal decision on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. The three justices presiding over the case, namely David Lloyd Jones, George Andrew Midsomer Leggatt, and Andrew Stephen Burrows, dismissed Dfcu Bank’s appeal against the lower court’s decision dated July 26, 2023.

Dfcu Bank and its shareholders had sought the UK court’s determination that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit stemming from Dfcu’s acquisition and takeover of Crane Bank. Their appeal to the Supreme Court followed the rejection of this argument by the UK’s Court of Appeal.

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The Supreme Court, in its ruling, stated, “After consideration of the applications filed on behalf of the appellants seeking permission to appeal, the order made by the Court of Appeal on 26th July 2023, and of the notices of objection filed by the respondents, permission to appeal be refused because the applications do not raise an arguable point of law which the court should consider at this time.”

Moreover, Dfcu Bank has been directed to bear the costs associated with the applications.

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This legal development implies that the UK High Court is now empowered to hear the original case, where Crane Bank alleges fraudulent actions and a conspiracy in the acquisition of its assets from the Bank of Uganda.

Crane Bank Limited, a significant player in Uganda’s commercial banking sector until 2016, underwent management takeover, closure, and asset/liability sale by the Bank of Uganda. The central bank, exercising its statutory and regulatory powers, justified these actions by citing Crane Bank’s undercapitalization and the substantial risk it posed to its depositors.

Having exhausted legal avenues within Ugandan courts with several lawsuits against the Central Bank, this longstanding legal dispute is now poised for a new chapter in London courts. The focus of the litigation is squarely on Dfcu Bank’s directors and major shareholders.

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Supreme Court Ruling Details

Justices Ruling
David Lloyd Jones Unanimously dismissed Dfcu’s appeal
George Andrew Midsomer Leggatt Unanimously dismissed Dfcu’s appeal
Andrew Stephen Burrows Unanimously dismissed Dfcu’s appeal


Key Legal Chronology

Date Event
July 26, 2023 Lower court’s decision that Dfcu appealed
January 9, 2024 Supreme Court unanimously dismisses Dfcu’s appeal