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 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
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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
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
7. The senior partner resisted proper disclosure and removed/destroyed
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
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
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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