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Commercial Court throws out negligence claim against counsel and solicitors


Riad Tawfiq Al Sadik v Clyde & Co & Ors [2024] EWHC 818 (Comm)

Mr Al Sadik was a high net worth individual who lost money investing very large sums with Investcorp. He sued Investcorp in Cayman, alleging fraud in their dealings with him, contending that they had promised him a guaranteed return, and had carried out a form of leverage on his account which he had not authorised. He lost before the Cayman court, in the Cayman Court of Appeal, and again in the Privy Council. Thereafter, he brought a claim in the English Commercial Court against his legal team for the Investcorp claim (which comprised Clyde & Co LLP (“Clydes”), Harney Westwood & Riegels (“Harneys”) and Leading and Junior Counsel).

Mr Al Sadik contended that, shortly before the trial of the Investcorp claim, proposed amendments to his claim had been disallowed because they had been applied for too late. He alleged that his legal team had been negligent in not pursuing the amendments earlier.  He also sued in relation to advice from Clydes and Leading Counsel which he said failed to warn him of the possibility of an anti-suit injunction after he lost in the Privy Council and sought to re-litigate the Investcorp claim in Dubai.

Deputy Judge Sean O’Sullivan KC heard a preliminary issue on limitation together with applications for reverse summary judgment over five days. He held that the main claim against Harneys and the barrister defendants was time barred. In addition, and in any event, he granted the defendants’ applications for reverse summary judgment on all of Mr Al Sadik’s claims (save for a relatively small claim against Clydes in relation to the anti-suit injunction), holding that even if Mr Al Sadik had obtained leave to amend the Investcorp claim, this would not have affected the outcome at trial. 

The judgment reviews the law in relation to s.14A of the Limitation Act 1980, and also addresses the circumstances in which a lawyer may be subject to a continuing duty to advise which puts off the accrual of limitation.

The judgment is here.

Charles Hollander KC and Jo Box (instructed by DAC Beachcroft) acted for the barrister defendants.

Kyle Lawson (instructed by Mishcon de Reya) acted as junior counsel for Harneys.