Sheffield lawyers’ delight at case win

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Sheffield law firm Lupton Fawcett Denison Till has successfully defeated a £7.5m professional negligence claim against a solicitor.

A three-week trial had been arranged for June at the High Court in London, but intensive investigations have led to the claim being dropped.

The claim was brought against solicitors Glassbrooks of Lytham St Annes by Merseyside director John Costello and his family company Belfields Ltd, over a 5.5 acre development site that they owned.

They complained that planning disputes with the local authority and court cases, including a judicial review, appeals to the Court of Appeal and adjudication, had been mishandled over five years by their solicitors Glassbrooks. Numerous allegations were made.

Belfields eventually received £1.25m compensation from the local authority for the compulsory purchase of the land. However, they argued they should have received much more. Belfields tried to blame their solicitors and took action against both Nick Glassbrook in person and Glassbrooks Limited for alleged loss of profit.

J Paul Sykes, a director in Lupton Fawcett Denison Till’s dispute management department, acted for the defendant.

He said: “We decided at the beginning that while this was a very complicated claim, it was fundamentally flawed and should be defended in full.

“We stuck to our guns and through the determination of our client, their insurers and barristers Michael Pooles QC and Paul Mitchell of Hailsham Chambers, we were able to highlight the defects behind what was an enormous mass of detail.”

The claim was finally resolved after mediation in which the claimants dropped the case.