UK barrister claims two solicitors lied in affidavits

AN ENGLISH barrister who is suing US corporation Exxon in a Florida court has accused two UK City solicitors of lying in affidavits they submitted to it.

Barrister Michael Ford makes the allegation – against Guy Hardaker, from Holman Fenwick & Willan, and Patrick Sherrington, at Lovell White Durrant – in a motion filed in Southern Florida’s district court.

Hardaker and Sherrington, who are witnesses for the defendants, both declined to comment when contacted by The Lawyer, but it is understood that the allegations are being vigorously denied.

The allegations are the latest development in a long and bitter wrangle between Ford and Exxon.

Ford claims that the corporation destroyed his career after he blew the whistle on an alleged cover up following an explosion at a power station in Hong Kong owned by Exxon subsidiary China Light and Power (CLP) in 1992.

CLP sued Ford, who had acted for it, in Hong Kong for breach of confidentiality, winning £30,000 damages.

Hardaker and Sherrington also acted for CLP in Hong Kong.

Despite a privy council ruling granting Ford a fresh hearing in Hong Kong, the case ran into the ground following the handover to China.

Since then, the focus of the litigation has been in the US.

The Florida court is to decide this Friday whether or not to hold an “evidentiary hearing” to investigate Ford’s claims.