Settlement reached on Tesco’s property row with BLP

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has settled out of court with one of its biggest clients Tesco after a dispute about the firm’s handling of a property deal.

The matter was handled mainly by both parties’ insurers. The case has been settled for a small sum believed to be far less than the £1m claimed by Tesco.

Tesco claimed it instructed BLP to stop property owner John Deveney from applying for planning permission to build another superstore on a nearby site. However, in 2002, Deveney received permission to build on the land he kept. As a result, a subsequent Tesco’s application was blocked and the supermarket chain claimed the land it paid £850,000 for in 1999 was significantly devalued.

On the surface, the claim appears to have done little to harm BLP’s relationship with Tesco. During the past year, BLP has advised on Tesco’s acquisition of the Cullens chain, a £650m sale and leaseback securitisation deal, and the purchase of 10 Safeway stores that WM Morrison had to divest after instructions from the Office of Fair Trading.

Tesco is currently managing a panel review of its outside law firms.
BLP declined to comment.