Firm faces High Court writ from Swiss client after £2.7m defeat

London firm Swepstone Walsh is to be sued in the High Court in a negligence action where it is alleged the firm was to blame for the failure of a #2.7m claim.

A writ has been issued against Swepstone Walsh by the Swiss company Orsank SA and Orsank's UK representative, Broderick Munro-Wilson – a friend of Prince Charles.

The writ, issued by Hamlin Slowe, accuses Swepstone Walsh of negligence and breach of contract.

It says that Orsank and Munro-Wilson instructed the firm to act for them when they sued a firm of chartered surveyors for negligence in respect of a property project. But the claim was ultimately struck out for lack of prosecution.

The writ blames this on Swepstone Walsh, claiming it failed to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence in prosecuting, and failed to serve a statement of claim within court time limits. It also accuses the firm of failing to apply for a time extension the day before a hearing in which the surveyors, Spencer Associates, applied to have the negligence action against them struck out.

Orsank says in its claim that, as a result of the case against Spencer Associates being struck out, the company lost all prospect of recovering damages, which it says could have been in the region of #2,745,565. The writ also claims that Orsank paid Swepstone Walsh costs of #37,971.54.

Swepstone Walsh acted on behalf of Ian Botham in his 1997 action against Imran Khan. Botham was later sued by the firm over #100,000 in unpaid fees, but the claim was dropped.