Guardian Care Homes switches Cooke Young & Keidan for Wilkes Partnership in landmark Libor battle

Graiseley Investments, the company behind Guardian Care Homes, has instructed the Wilkes Partnership in place of Cooke Young & Keidan (CYK) in its landmark Libor battle with Barclays following concerns over costs.

Despite succeeding in batting off an appeal from Barclays last month in which it sought to prevent Libor manipulation allegations being bought against the bank, Graisely has replaced the London boutique on what is thought to be one of the biggest cases spinning out of the recession (8 November 2013).

Wilkes was drafted in two weeks ago to take on the ongoing battle for Graiseley Investments – seen as the first Libor test case – after hearing CYK’s cost estimate for the trial.

Partner Philip Young and consultant Len Murray have been ousted for Midlands-based Wilkes partner Andrew Garland ahead of the case management hearing today.

Wilkes has turned to Bristol set Guildhall Chambers silk Stephen Davies QC and Neil Levy who take the place of One Essex Court’s Stephen Auld QC and Outer Temple Chambers’ Farhaz Khan and Simon Oakes.

They will face off against Barclays’ heavyweight cast made up of South Square’s Robin Dicker QC and Jeremy Goldring QC and 3 Verulam Buildings’ Adrian Beltrami QC, instructed by Clifford Chance partner Ian Moulding. 

CYK partners charge roughly the same fees as a Clifford Chance 2 years PQE but Graiseley sought cheaper counsel after hearing the firm’s costs, sources said. CYK is understood to have told the company that if it could not afford to pay its fees, it should consider replacing its London counsel with lower cost provincial firms and barristers.

The new counsel will step up for Guardian Care Homes today at a case management conference. It will tell the court that it wants to take Barclays to court in April over the fraudulent misrepresentation claims it is allowed to bring following the Court of Appeal (CoA) decision.

The high-profile misselling case has seen several changes to its cast list since it began. In 2012 Clifford Chance took over the lead role for Barclays after acting jointly with Matthew Arnold & Baldwin (MAB). It was been agreed jointly between Barclays, MAB and Clifford Chance that regulatory partner Ian Moulding would take the lead role in October.

Barclays became the first bank to admit its involvement in the Libor rigging scandal in 2012. The bank was fined £59.5m by the FCA’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority, as part of a joint UK-US settlement over its role in attempts to manipulate Libor.

It had already incurred £100m in legal fees to Clifford Chance and Skadden for gathering the regulatory findings before the Guardian Care Homes case began.