Eversheds in court over Newcastle Airport negligence claims

Eversheds has begun its High Court battle with former client Newcastle International Airport, which accuses the firm of negligence.

Mrs Justice Proudman
Mrs Justice Proudman

The trial, which is scheduled to last three weeks, began last Wednesday (25 April) in front of Mrs Justice Proudman at the Rolls Building.

The case harks back to a 2006 refinancing deal by Newcastle International Airport with Royal Bank of Scotland. Two former executive directors at the airport, which is part-owned by seven local authorities, are alleged to have received multi-million pound bonuses for securing a £377m mortgage as part of the deal with RBS.

Eversheds advised the two directors – Former airport chief executive John Parkin and former finance director (now deceased) Lars Friis – on the execution of the deal that saw them profit. Newcastle Airport is now arguing that Eversheds was in breach of its duty when it accepted the mandate from the directors. It is a claim that Eversheds vigorously denies.

A spokesperson for Eversheds said: “Clearly while the trial is ongoing there’s little we can say by way of comment. However, while we’re very disappointed that this issue has reached the courts, we’re confident of the strength of our case.”

Eversheds has instructed Clyde & Co partner Sarah Clover who, in turn, has turned to Ben Patten QC from 4 New Square. Newcastle Airport has instructed Ward Hadaway partner Tim Toomey and Nicholas Davidson, also of 4 new Square.