Director of company counterclaiming for negligence in professional fees claim pays costs personally

In Chantrey Vellacott v The Convergence Group PLC [2007] EWHC 1774 (Ch) chartered accountants sued their former client for a quarter of a million pounds sterling in fees. They were met with one of those absurd counterclaims which such suits often generate, for negligence, claiming 115 million pounds sterling in damages. The defendant and counter-claimant’s director was ordered to pay the accountants’ costs of the claim and counterclaim personally. Latham & Watkins’s note of the case says:

‘Rimer J found that Mr Robinson was the real party to the litigation and had been “personally responsible for the prosecution of a false and dishonest case”. He had prevented Chantrey from obtaining security for costs and had assisted the funding of the litigation personally and through other companies within his control. Rimer J also found that had the counterclaim been successful the ultimate benefit would have passed, via a family trust, to Mr Robinson.’

The latest English cases on non-party costs orders in England mentioned are:

  • Aiden Shipping v Interbulk Limited, The Vimeira (No. 2) (1986)
  • Symphony Group plc v Hodgson (1994)
  • Gardiner v FX Music Ltd (2000)
  • Hamilton v Al Fayed (No. 2) (2003)
  • Dymocks Franchise Systems (NSW) Pty Ltd v Todd (2004)
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