Deacons, White & Case settle before appeal

Deacons has settled its longstanding litigation against White & Case and the firm’s former partners Mark Fairbairn and Edward Cairns just two weeks before the appeal hearing was due to start (first revealed on, 25 October).

An appeal by both sides was due to be heard by the Hong Kong High Court in early November. White & Case was due to appeal against the High Court’s decision, which ruled against the US firm. Meanwhile, Deacons was expected to appeal for exemplary damages.

White & Case lost out in the bitter court battle started by Deacons after the US firm recruited highly-rated insolvency lawyers Fairbairn and Cairns in mid-2002 (first revealed on www.thelawyer. com, 24 October 2003).

The court ruled that the pair breached their partnership contract, illegally tried to persuade Deacons clients to follow them and passed confidential information to White & Case while at their former firm. The judge also held that White & Case encouraged the pair in the first two offences.

However, the judge dismissed Deacons’ claims that White & Case breached a non-solicitation clause relating to merger talks between the two firms in 1999.

In a joint statement, the parties said: “Deacons, White & Case, Mark Fairbairn and Edward Cairns are pleased to announce they have reached a settlement of all the litigation between them. The terms of settlement are confidential.

“Deacons and White & Case look forward to re-establishing the amicable relationship they previously enjoyed.”