Businesswoman’s court fight with Barclays generated £50m legal bills, judge told

Amanda Staveley sued the bank after complaining about the behaviour of bosses while negotiating investment deals in 2008.

Amanda Staveley
Amanda Staveley

A High Court battle between a businesswoman and Barclays generated lawyers’ bills in the region of £50 million, a judge has been told.

Amanda Staveley sued the bank for hundreds of millions of pounds after making complaints about the behaviour of bosses when negotiating investment deals during the 2008 financial crisis.

She said PCP Capital Partners, a private equity firm she runs, would have invested in the bank on “vastly better terms” 13 years ago but for Barclays’ “false representations”.

Barclays contested the claim.

Amanda Staveley legal action
Barclays had run up lawyers’ bills of nearly £30 million, the judge was told (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Mr Justice Waksman, who heard evidence at a High Court trial during the summer of 2020, dismissed Ms Staveley’s claim in a ruling delivered in February.

But Ms Staveley said she had, nevertheless, been vindicated and wants Court of Appeal judges to consider the case.

The judge is considering arguments about who should pick up which legal bills at a follow-up hearing.

Lawyers told him that PCP had run up lawyers’ bills of nearly £20 million and Barclays nearly £30 million.

Normally losers pick up winners’ legal bills and Barclays bosses say the judge should follow the normal rule.

Amanda Staveley legal action
A sign for the Rolls Building in central London where the Barclays trial was held (Steve Parsons/PA)

But Ms Staveley says the normal rule should not be followed because the judge found in her favour on a number of issues.

Mr Justice Waksman ruled that Barclays, which had wanted to avoid going into Government ownership, had been guilty of “serious deceit” and concluded that Roger Jenkins, a Barclays boss in 2008, had knowingly made false representations.

But he dismissed Ms Staveley’s claim after deciding that she had not established “loss”.

“Although its claim has failed, PCP has succeeded on every element of its claim except one,”  barrister Joe Smouha QC, who represents Ms Staveley and PCP, told Mr Justice Waksman on Thursday.

“Even without considering what proportions of the costs of the action might be attributable to each issue, the only just order for costs would be one which requires Barclays to pay a substantial proportion of PCP’s costs.”

He added: “Barclays has been found guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation, the appropriate order as to costs should at least require Barclays to pay the costs of that part of the action and trial.

“There must not be any basis on which it could be said that a defendant to a fraud claim (especially one with a deep pocket and resources far outweighing the claimant) could be incentivised or encouraged to deny liability and claimants deterred from bringing their properly founded fraud claims to court.”

David Quest QC, who represented Barclays, said PCP should pay the bank’s legal costs.

“As the successful party in the litigation, Barclays seeks its costs of these proceedings under the general rule,” he told the judge.

“Barclays was clearly the successful party in the proceedings.”

He said the claim was brought for no other purpose than to recover damages, and added: “In the end, PCP recovered nothing.”

Lawyers representing PCP told the judge that an initial damages claim was for a sum between £1.6 billion and £400 million.

By the end of the trial, PCP was arguing for amounts ranging between around £830 million and around £600 million.

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