The £637m litigation between Watchstone Group plc and Slater & Gordon (UK) 1 Limited has settled. A nine-week trial had been due to commence on Monday 21st October in the Commercial Court before Bryan J. The case had been widely reported in the legal press.
The proceedings arose from the sale by Watchstone (formerly Quindell) of its legal services business to Slater & Gordon in 2015, for the sum of £637m. Slater & Gordon issued proceedings in June 2017, claiming in fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of warranty, and seeking to recover the sum it had paid.
In August 2019, Watchstone brought forward a counterclaim, alleging that Slater & Gordon’s advisors, Greenhill & Co, had taken part in illicit “back channel” communications with Watchstone’s advisors, PwC, and seeking £63m in damages.
The £11m settlement sum will be taken from a £50m escrow account which Watchstone had been required to maintain pending the resolution of the dispute. The settlement includes no admissions as to liability under either the claim or the counterclaim.
Simon Salzedo QC and Laura Newton represented Slater & Gordon (UK) 1 Limited, instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP.
Tim Lord QC, Charlotte Thomas and Sophie Shaw represented Watchstone Group plc, instructed by Dorsey & Whitney Europe LLP.