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David Lascelles acts for law firm successfully resisting professional negligence claim

In EMW Law LLP v (1) Bryant (2) Bryant and (3)
Chesterton Commercial
(8.4.16), David Lascelles was instructed by the
Claimant law firm in its successful pursuit of a claim for unpaid fees and
defence to a counterclaim alleging professional negligence.

The defendant property developers had engaged the Claimant
in relation to a tax enquiry launched into their affairs by HMRC. The
Defendants alleged that the Claimant had provided incorrect advice as to the
terms upon which HMRC were prepared to settle the tax enquiry. The
Defendants claimed that this led to them entering into a settlement agreement
with HMRC on less advantageous terms than those in fact available. The Defendants
alleged that this caused them to incur heavy short term financing costs,
relying upon an apparent written financing agreement and proofs of payment in
support of their claim.

Following a four day trial, the Judge (HHJ Gerald) found “no
hesitation whatsoever
” in rejecting the Defendants’ counterclaim on both
liability and quantum. He entirely rejected the Defendants’ case
that the advice given was incorrect. He found that the Defendants’ claim
was a cynical and disingenuous ploy. He accepted that the Defendants’ key
witness demonstrated a “chilling disinterest in veracity”. The
judge also accepted EMW’s case that the alleged finance agreement and purported
payments did not exist.

In arriving at his decision, the Judge recorded that David’s
enquiring mind and eye for detail” had extracted the evidence which “torpedoed
the Defendants’ case. He awarded EMW judgment on its unpaid fees,
dismissed the Defendants’ counterclaim and ordered that they pay indemnity
costs.

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