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Birmingham's mercantile court is hearing its biggest ever case - a £35m dispute over a franchising agreement.
The case before Judge Caroline Alton relates to the Dunkin Donuts franchise within the M25, and includes a counterclaim by DD UK Ltd for £35m plus interest against the US company, Dunkin Donuts Inc. The US company made a claim for £1m in unpaid royalties, but the UK operation then hit back with its claim, principally for loss of profits. Birmingham counsel James Corbett QC and Andrew Charman, both of St Philips Chambers, are acting for the US company, instructed by the head of Hammond Suddards Edge's commercial dispute resolution team in Birmingham, Digby Rose. Hogarth Chambers' Jonathan Rayner James QC and Gwilym Harbottle have been instructed by Stephen Izod of Callaghans in Guildford for DD UK. The case is to be concluded by 6 December, and judgment is anticipated to be in mid-January. Some of the witness evidence is being conducted by video-link to the US, in part enforced following the tragic events of 11 September.