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Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners has lost a million-pound gamble in the recent case it fought against Private Eye magazine.
The firm took the majority of a case brought by accountant John Stuart Condliffe on a conditional fee arrangement (CFA) basis, and total legal fees have been estimated at reaching £1.75m. Condliffe's case against Private Eye concerned an article in the magazine that claimed he overcharged clients. The case was discontinued after six weeks and Private Eye was awarded £100,000. The expert witness in the case Emile Woolf said that Condliffe's lead counsel Geoffrey Shaw QC and his junior Rupert Elliott, both of 1 Brick Court, and Cameron Doley of Peter Carter-Ruck, have been working on the CFA basis since August, when the bulk of the action took place. The case began on 8 October. He said: "Costs for the trial would have been £1.75m, and the bulk - about £1.25m - relates to the case since August. Since August, there was the finalisation of the expert's report and the serving of Condliffe's witness statement, comprising 302 pages." Woolf himself spent 10 days in the witness box going through Condliffe's accounts. Peter Carter-Ruck and 1 Brick Court declined to comment.