Herbert Smith dumps client on price-fixing case

Herbert Smith has pulled out of acting on one of the world’s largest price-fixing cases against a host of pharmaceutical companies because of uncertainty over fees.

The firm’s client, Regent-GM Laboratories, is insolvent and this is understood to have led to concerns at Herbert Smith over whether it would be paid in full for its work. Accountant Leonard Curtis is handling the insolvency.

Richard Cornthwaite, a partner at niche crime specialist Garstangs, has taken over for Regent. His introduction to the case comes as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which has been involved in the drug probe since 2002, has started bringing in witnesses from the defendant pharmaceutical companies for the first time. The case is said to be the SFO’s largest to date.

Cornthwaite cut his teeth in law on the Guinness trial.

Garstangs declined to comment.