Firms take centre stage for SE action

EDGE & Ellison and Cambridge two-partner firm Ritchie Samuel played a central legal role in the Stock Exchange climb-down over its unprecedented libel action taken against one of its own members.

The two practices represented their clients David Jones, chief executive of share dealing service Sharelink, and Cambridge computer company Electronic Share Information (ESI), in the widely-reported rift with the exchange over joint agreements to launch a real-time share price system on the Internet.

The exchange had issued a writ for defamation and threatened disciplinary proceedings against Jones as a result of his comments on BBC radio, referring to the exchange pulling out of the Internet project.

After two weeks of talks the exchange dropped its action and threat against Jones.

Sharelink and ESI also dropped their allegation that the exchange had acted in breach of agreements.

Digby Rose, Edge & Ellison's head of commercial litigation, said: “I saw our task as creating a climate in which the Stock Exchange could accept that the real issue was its contract with ESI, and the basis on which the provision of a real-time share price service might be resumed.”

Duncan Samuel, partner at Ritchie Samuel, worked closely with Rose on the case. He took over ESI as a client from Gouldens earlier this year.