Freshfields to face M&S disciplinary hearing next month

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer will go before the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) at the beginning of August for its role in the Marks & Spencer (M&S) takeover bid three years ago.

Corporate chief Tim Jones and former corporate head Barry O’Brien will go before the SDT on 2 August the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority confirmed today (11 July).

In 2004 the magic circle firm advised business tycoon Philip Green on his £9bn bid for M&S, despite having previously acted for the retail chain.

The then regulatory arm of the Law Society began an investigation into the conflict of interest, resulting in Jones and O’Brien being referred to the SDT last October.

The SDT has the ability to reprimand, fine and strike off solicitors.

Ashurst litigation head Ed Sparrow is advising O’Brien, while Herbert Smith litigation partner David Mayhew is acting for Jones.

A Freshfields spokesperson said: “The firm is fully supportive of those involved in this issue and we hope that the proceedings will be brought to a conclusion quickly.”

The news comes as Freshfields is up in front of an employment tribunal in an age discrimination claim brought by former restructuring chief Peter Bloxham.