Blackburn Rovers, the £2.25m ‘admission’ and the overriding objective

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Not only was Henning Berg’s recent ‘win’ in claiming £2.25m compensation from Blackburn Rovers a concerning insight into corporate governance within that club, but it was also an altogether more familiar scenario involving a claim, an admission of liability and then an application by the defendant for permission to withdraw that admission when the ‘dawn of realisation’ reached a higher level within the business.

The parties’ arguments led Judge Pelling QC (sitting in the High Court, Chancery Division in Manchester) in Berg v Blackburn Rovers Football Club & Athletic Plc to comment that the overriding objective has been radically amended with effect from April and that its amendment is likely to have, “a significant impact on the approach to be adopted to applications of this kind, which will now be approached by courts much more rigorously than perhaps has been the practice in the past, particularly where formal admissions are made on behalf of parties represented by experienced and specialist professional advisors.”…

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