The recession has brought with it a wave of high-value disputes, but as 2010 fast approaches litigators are rubbing their hands together at the high-level litigation that is set to get underway.
That said 2009 was not completely void of top-notch disputes to which litigators had a chance to sink their teeth into.
First there was a victory for Barlow Lyde & Gilbert when a multimillion-pound claim against its client Moore Stephens was struck out. The eagerly awaited judgment in Stone & Rolls v Moore Stephens (2009) was handed down by Lord Phillips (read more).
Eleven South Square’s Iain Purvis QC, who helped songwriter Matthew Fisher win royalties from Procol Harum for his work on hit song Whiter Shade of Pale, also celebrated a win on the final day at the House of Lords.
The Law Lords ruled that Fisher, who claimed he wrote the haunting pseudo-Bach organ melody that opens the song, was entitled to a share of future royalties (see full article).
This year has also seen some trials that have had far-reaching consequences, such as the bank charges case that the Supreme Court ruled on in November (read more).
This was the first major case decided by the Supreme Court since it opened on 1 October. The ruling, which found that the Office of Fair Trading could not investigate charges on overdrafts, was controversial.
A similar blow was dealt to Baltic telecoms company Levicom, which attempted to sue Linklaters for $55m (£33.79m) on grounds of professional negligence. In April Mr Justice Andrew Smith rejected the claim and ordered the firm to hand over just £5 in nominal damages (read more).
Linklaters was not the only firm to face negligence claims. Cobbetts and Eversheds settled a joint claim alleging that they gave negligent advice on a fraudulent property deal. The action was brought against them by Nationwide Building Society and Cheshire Building Society.
Also, the High Court threw out a £17m claim brought against Fladgate Fielder (now Fladgate) by Land Securities (see full article).
These were just a few of the cases to reach fruition in the past year.
Some will rumble into 2010, including the much-anticipated BSkyB v EDS judgment. The trial concluded in July 2008, but Mr Justice Ramsey has yet to deliver a verdict. Whichever side he comes down on, lawyers are anticipating an appeal.
But whatever happens, litigators are predicting that 2010 will be a vintage year for disputes.