Slaughters to pay £200k damages for negligence

SLAUGHTER and May has been ordered to pay more than £200,000 in damages after the High Court found it acted negligently in a property deal.

The City firm, which is considering an appeal, must pay £204,541 plus interest to Summit Financial Group (formerly Aurit Services) to indemnify the company for possible further losses.

The case centred on an agreement to calculate the commission payable by ATC Property to Aurit for introducing two properties.

Aurit was represented by Slaughters and ATC by Ashurst Morris Crisp when the deal was drawn up.

Aurit claimed that though the first draft of the agreement produced by Slaughters correctly reflected the deal, a later version failed to incorporate the main element of commission calculation.

It said that, as a result, the agreement was deprived of its primary commercial purpose and the commission agreement entitled Aurit to a much lower financial return than had originally been agreed.

Mr Justice Rimer rejected claims by Slaughters, which denied negligence, that Aurit understood and agreed to the terms of the agreement as executed.

The firm also argued that Aurit was guilty of contributory negligence, that it should have mitigated its loss by suing ATC for rectification of the agreement and that the claim was statute barred.

Slaughters commercial partner Anthony Newhouse says: “We don't really comment on affairs like this. We were given leave to appeal and we are currently considering whether to do so.”