Mace & Jones cleared of professional negligence

The High Court has thrown out a £60m professional negligence claim brought against North West firm Mace & Jones this morning.

Construction company D Morgan launched two parallel negligence claims against the firm and Kings Chambers’ John Hoggett QC relating to advice provided by the firm on a number of planning issues connected to Bold Heath Quarry in St Helens going back as far as 1992.

The claimant alleged that advice from the firm and counsel on planning conditions had deprived it of an opportunity to exploit the quarry to proper commercial advantage.  The claim totalled some £50m inclusive of interest with a loss of profits claim of some £40m.

The claim against Hoggett settled just weeks before the case went to full trial without any admission of liability.

Mr Justice Coulson dismissed the clam against the firm in its entirety, rejecting the notion that any negligence was causative of a loss and, he added, the follow on claim for loss of profits was “fundamentally flawed”.

In a statement, Mace & Jones senior partner Lawrence Downey said: “Every law firm has to contend with allegations of negligence from time to time, and it’s very sad that it happened in this particular case with a long-standing client. We’re delighted that we’ve been vindicated by a very strong judgment.”

Beachcroft consultant Tony Hill instructed One Crown Office Row’s David Hart QC to lead John Whitting of the same set for Mace & Jones.

Systech Solicitors instructed 4 New Square’s Nicholas Davidson QC to lead Anneliese Day of the same set for the claimant.