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  case studies
Case Studies

Case Study A

Mrs X thought she might like some new double glazed windows in a cottage she had bought. Unfortunately she went to a local jobbing builder who neglected to advise her that she should fit windows with opening restrictors to the first floor bedroom window (which was set very low). After fitment and payment (in cash) Mrs X got up one night and opened the bedroom window, overbalanced and fell 14 feet onto spiked railings, impaling herself through her torso in three places. Miraculously she survived, albeit with extensive and unpleasant injuries.



The installer was uninsured.
The transaction was in cash
There was no case law on the point.
Regulatory framework was sparse.
Mrs X was impecunious.
Uncertain prospects of recovery
The installer being uninsured decided to instruct solicitors and deny liability.

Although both liability and recovery were far from certain, Ashton Bell underwrote and funded the whole of this potentially risky case on a “no win no fee” basis.

After appropriate investigation of the circumstances, appropriate experts were instructed, proceedings were issued and the matter was driven to a fully contested trial where judgement was given for substantial compensation and costs.

The debt was secured against the installer’s home. This may be said to be hard on him, but not as hard as the consequences of the installer's negligence for our client.

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Case Study B

Mr Y helped to build up a successful insurance brokerage for his much older employer.

After a spectacular expansion of business, largely as a result of Mr Y’s efforts, his employer offered him a partnership. Mr Y looked set for life as a partner in a successful brokerage. Inexplicably however the cash in the brokerage client account shrank rapidly and disappeared as Insurance companies tightened up their procedures, leaving a shortfall of c.£191,000.00. Mr Y consulted ourselves as it appeared that the senior partner had helped himself (via excessive drawings) to monies properly due to insurance companies, in the period before Mr Y became a partner.

The problems included:

1. Incomplete and inadequate bookkeeping records.
2. Accounts prepared by the senior partner’s brother!
3. Drawings disguised as business expenditure
4. Unco-operative banks
5. Unhelpful advice given by the partnership’s original accountants and solicitors.
6. The pattern of dubious drawings stretched back at least 6 years.
7. The senior partner resisted proper disclosure and removed/destroyed documents.
8. The majority of the senior partner’s assets were abroad.
9. He denied liability and instructed solicitors.

After securing copy bank statements from domestic and foreign banks under Court orders, a large number of suspicious transfers were identified. Forensic accountants were instructed and a full trawl through the partnership’s trading history was undertaken.

Proceedings were initiated and further disclosure from our opponents was vigorously pursued. A “smoking gun” was discovered. After a 3 day trial, judgement was obtained for a sum in excess of £120,000.00 and costs. This still left the problem of recovery.

Following further investigations a valuable property was uncovered on the south coast, which the judgement debtor (as he was then) was on the point of selling.

The property was promptly made the subject of a charging order for the whole of the judgement debt and costs and a full recovery made of the whole of the judgement monies and costs upon the sale of the property.

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