Ditched manager sues over 'broken' deal

Teen star who made millions faces High Court action as her ex-manager claims breach of contract. Roger Pearson reports.

Teen star Charlotte Church and her parents are heading for a High Court showdown with Jonathan Shalit, her former manager and promoter.

Charlotte, now 14, found fame after an appearance on the Jonathan Ross Big Big Talent Show at the age of 11. She has since become a millionairess, but is being sued along with her parents by Shalit, who was sacked as the young soprano's manager earlier this year.

In a High Court claim he is suing for damages which, with legal costs, are said to

run to £5m. He accuses Charlotte of breaching their agreement, and James Church, who is her adoptive father, and her mother, Maria, of failing to do their best to prevent her ditching the deal.

Shalit says he was appointed as Charlotte's exclusive manager in March 1998, initially for three years until March 2001. He says this was later extended to run to June 2002, and that he was to receive up to 20 per cent of her income as commission in respect of her work.

However, his claim says that solicitors for Charlotte wrote to Shalit in January this year claiming that his management deal was unenforceable and telling him that he should no longer consider himself to be her manager.

Charlotte was the youngest solo artist ever to enter the Top 30 US album chart. She was also the youngest female singer ever to reach the Top 40 in the UK's pop and classical charts.