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A solicitor who was ‘squeezed out’ of his partnership with another lawyer by the latter’s repeated breaches of contract following a bitter falling-out between them is in line for substantial compensation following a Court of Appeal ruling.
Solicitor A had entered into a partnership with solicitor B which was meant to endure for at least four years; however it was terminated by mutual agreement after less than three years. A judge subsequently found that the cause of the early termination was the conduct of solicitor B, which had made it intolerable for solicitor A to continue in partnership with him.
Under the agreement, solicitor A had been entitled to guaranteed minimum drawings from the partnership and the judge’s decision entitled him to damages to reflect the financial loss he had suffered as a result of the agreement having been terminated fifteen months before expiry of the minimum term.
On appeal, solicitor B did not challenge any of the judge’s individual adverse findings against him, nor his overall assessment of his conduct in the context of the partnership agreement. He also accepted that that his behaviour had been the underlying cause of the partnership’s early termination.
However, his legal team pointed out that none of his breaches of contract had occurred during the final three months of the partnership and argued that solicitor A had affirmed the agreement by continuing to make drawings and to work in furtherance of the partnership’s business. There was, it was submitted, no ‘last straw’ that had caused solicitor A to withdraw from the agreement.
The controversial decision to introduce charges for access to Employment Tribunals (ETs) has survived a judicial review challenge by trade union UNISON. However, the High Court has urged that the system be kept under close review and has expressed ‘a strong suspicion’ that aspects of the fees structure may indirectly discriminate against women and minority groups.
UNISON, with the support of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), argued that...
A businessman whose involvement in an ambitious project to install numerous solar panel parks on the sun-soaked islands of Greece turned into a costly disaster has failed in a Euros 12 million damages claim against solicitors whom he accused of letting him down.
The businessman claimed that the solicitors had failed to adequately protect his position in the advice that they gave him, in the drafting of three share purchase agreements and in the creation of a corporate structure for the venture. He argued that, as a result of the solicitors’ negligence, he had lost profits in excess of Euros 8.2 million and incurred unnecessary expenditure of more than Euros 4.2 million.
However, in dismissing the claim, the High Court exonerated the solicitors and found that they had acted reasonably and in accordance with their instructions. Even had professional negligence been proved, the businessman had not established any of the lost profits or wasted expenditure claimed. The Court noted that the only consolation left to the businessman was the knowledge that he had been ably represented in the proceedings by his legal team, who had skilfully made on his behalf all the points that could have been made.
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