Withers is set to appear in court next week (14 March) to defend claims of professional negligence from former client Alastair Harrison.
Barlow Lyde & Gilbert partner Neil Jamieson has instructed Maitland Chambers’ Tom Leech QC to act for the firm.
The claimant, who was originally represented by Hill Dickinson, will appear in person.
According to the claim, Withers partner Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall was instructed to represent Harrison on a property deal that turned sour.
Harrison alleges that the firm was “negligent, in breach of contract and in breach of duties” when it advised on the real estate options deal. Such a deal would allow a property buyer to reserve a stake in the property pending other conditions, in this case planning permission.
The claim, for £700,000, relates to whether Withers provided adequate advice to allow the claimant to extend the option agreement. The claimant alleges that Hoskyns-Abrahall failed to advise him that detailed planning permission was needed for such an extension to exist.
He further claims that, as the firm did not advise him that detailed planning permission was needed, the vendor sold the property to another buyer, costing the claimant £700,000.
The claim states: “Had the claimant exercised the option, he would have divided [the property] High Cirrus, sold the house, obtained detailed planning permission for a new house on the remainder of the property, developed that new house and sold it at a profit.”
Withers and Harrison both declined to comment.