Mitchell’s Half-a-Million Libel Legal Debacle

sherborne

Tomorrow we will get the judgement in a bizarre legal mess up between Andrew Mitchell’s solicitors and his celebrity barrister David Sherborne.  Due to a cock-up Mitchell’s solicitors failed to file their costs and so under the tightened rules will be punished. In front of Master McCloud there was a lot of legal buck passing last Thursday. As a result even if he wins the Plebgate libel case it is likely Mitchell will not be able to claim for his costs which are running at some £500,000.

sun-plebgate

Damages in his Plebgate libel case are capped at £150,000, so if Mitchell loses his case he could have to pay The Sun’s costs of some £600,000 and his costs of £500,000 – a whopping total of £1.1 million will be divided between him and his solicitors who were acting under a Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA). Ouch!

M’learned friends speculate that Mitchell and his solicitors could end up falling out and suing each other. If the judgement tomorrow goes against Mitchell, his solicitors are likely to appeal meaning the underlying case will be delayed for months.

With the delay Mitchell’s hopes of returning to government in the next reshuffle will come to naught while the case is ongoing…

UPDATE: Mitchell’s lawyers Atkins Thomson, who screwed up the costs claim, have got in touch to say they and Sherborne share the risk of their own costs if Mitchell’s case fails. They also point out the obvious fact that The Sun’s costs are only payable if they lose and they are insured – though m’learned friends tell me the insurance probably won’t cover the whole amount. They also say they won’t fall out with their client…



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