In what was a true David vs Goliath affair, Freeths landed a monumental victory for 550 former Post Office workers last year, as its long-standing group litigation resulted in a £57m settlement for the claimants.
Victory in Alan Bates and Others v Post Office Limited earned Freeths the accolade of Litigation Team of The Year, sponsored by Gallagher, at The Lawyer awards last Tuesday, succeeding after one of the most bitterly contested pieces of commercial litigation in recent years.
Acting for the claimants throughout with the assistance of third-party funding from Therium, the team was led by Freeths’ head of dispute resolution James Hartley.
Prior to its conclusion, the matter underwent 20 interim hearings, two trials and 46 days in court, with the claimants taking on Herbert Smith Freehills after Womble Bond Dickinson was replaced.
In going up against a much larger opposition, Freeths combined several technology solutions to equip a relatively small team and ensure it was not outgunned when it came to disclosure.
A member of The Lawyer’s judging panel heaped praise on the win: “Freeths LLP deserves praise for this complex litigation. They put right a historical wrong which had affected so many innocent people due to a computer error.
“They managed to create a legal strategy that ensured success on a matter, where others had failed, and they did so in the face of many challenges which included facing a stronger opponent. They were brave. They also showed skill: Group Litigation is as complex as it gets.”
Another judge was also full of admiration: “Impressive handling of a complex case, demonstrating real innovation in building up a sufficient claimant base to be able to run the litigation and achieve settlement against a heavily resourced defendant.”
A note from our sponsor: Gallagher
The Gallagher Dispute Resolution/Major Risks Practice, our 55 colleague strong team, were delighted to be sponsoring the Litigation Team of the Year category at The Lawyer Awards, which was held virtually this year. Gallagher is one of the largest insurance brokers in the world and our dispute resolution team provide insurance solutions for law firms and litigation funders, throughout the UK and across the globe.
The solutions include: After-the-Event (ATE) Insurance, Law Firm Contingency Fee Insurance, Arbitration Award Default Insurance, Appeal Protection Insurance and Cross-Undertaking in damages Insurance.
Last week’s ceremony marked the fourth consecutive year we have sponsored the event and, without question, the standard of submission this year was higher than ever. We can say this with confidence as the Gallagher Dispute Resolution/Major Risks Practice was the after-the-event insurance broker for a number of the entries.
The partnership between the Dispute Resolution team and the law firms we work with is based on a commonality of interests to increase client confidence by mitigating risk using insurance, thus assisting them to win more work and bring cases to a successful conclusion.
The only insurance broker to be honoured by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, Gallagher’s Dispute Resolution team has the specialist skills, wide reach, proven experience and underwriting access and are able to cover the various nuances of litigation and arbitration risk – knowledgably, ethically, flexibly, compliantly and at a competitive price..