Credit Suisse thwarts Ozannes in employment dispute

The Guernsey branch of Credit Suisse has won a case against Channel Islands law firm Ozannes, preventing it from representing a former senior executive of the bank in an unfair dismissal claim against his former employers.

The bailiff in the Royal Court of Guernsey made this ruling on the grounds that the firm held confidential information of the workings of Credit Suisse Guernsey. The firm has acted regularly for the bank’s trust company and occasionally as legal advisers to the bank itself.

The former senior executive bringing the claim, David Meyerhoff, had previously instructed Ozannes on another employment dispute against the bank. In his judgment, the bailiff concluded: “If Mr [Robert] Shepherd [the Ozannes partner instructed to act for Meyerhoff] continues to act, there is a real risk that confidential information and information indirectly obtained, concerning the likely approach of the applicant to settling claims of ex-employees, will be misused.”

John Greenfield, managing partner of Carey Olsen, when asked by the court as a witness how he would react in Ozannes’ situation, said “he would feel precluded from acting for the new client”.

An Ozannes source told The Lawyer: “The bailiff has mixed up true confidential information with the sort of confidential information which any ex-employee is entitled to use in order to fight his employment case to the best of his ability.”