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Eight firms including Slater & Gordon, Irwin Mitchell and Hodge Jones & Allen are gearing up to battle Osborne Clarke over claims for compensation from the £3.3m estate of former TV presenter Jimmy Savile.
Newspaper adverts yesterday called for new claimants alleging sexual abuse by Savile to contact Osborne Clarke, which is representing the estate executor Natwest. The firm succeeded in arranging a scheme to pay compensation to victims from his estate earlier this year.
The advert lists the eight firms handling claims from individuals alleging sexual abuse by the former TV personality. It alerts potential claimants to the possibliity of claiming money from his estate. The court order handed down by Mr Justice Sales in February called for adverts to be placed in two national newspapers as well as newspapers on the Channel Islands.
They call for people who have not yet come forward to apply for compensation within a six-week deadline, though the scheme will stay open for a year.
It follows a High Court win for Osborne Clarke litigation partner Clare Robinson, instructuing Maitland Chambers’ Mark Cunningham QC, for Natwest this year. The court granted the bank permission to enter into and operate the compensation scheme, following a tussle between beneficiaries of Savile’s estate and the alleged victims, the NHS and the BBC.
The largest beneficiary of the estate - the Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust - had attempted to remove the bank as the executor of Savile’s estate but was unsuccessful.
In granting permission for Osborne Clarke to enter and run the scheme in March, Mr Justice Sales said: “It will be lawful and appropriate for the bank to seek to operate the scheme with a view to securing fair scrutiny of the personal injury claims being brought forward and settlement of claims to the greatest extent as may be possible and appropriate.”
Compensation will not automatically be granted to new claimants as the allegations have not yet been resolved but any claims not received before the estate is distrubuted will not be able to seek damages.
Slater & Gordon lawyer Liz Dux is representing the majority of the claimants after her firm acquired Russell Jones & Walker in 2012 (30 January 2012) and Pannone earlier this year (17 February 2014).
So far around 140 people have come forward claiming to be victims of abuse. An inquiry by the Metropolitan Police has so far recorded more than 200 sexual offences said to have been committed by Savile.
An Osborne Clarke spokesperson said: “We will continue to do everything possible to support a resolution that is in the interests of all parties.”