A North West accountancy firm accused of professional negligence have been cleared of all charges and awarded a total of £800,000 in indemnity costs.
Mace & Jones, which has branches in Liverpool, Manchester and Knutsford, was accused by construction company D Morgan of giving bad advice on planning issues relating to the Bold Heath Quarry in St Helens.
D Morgan claimed that through its advice, the accountancy firm – as well as experienced legal practitioner John Hoggett QC, who was targeted in a parallel claim – deprived it of the opportunity to gain the full commercial advantage from the quarry.
The construction company sought £50 million plus interest from Mace & Jones, as well as a loss of profits claim totalling £40 million. The accusations levelled against the accountants included breach of contract and negligence.
Mr Justice Coulson has now dismissed four out of the five claims, with Mace & Jones only being required to pay £2 in nominal damages for breach of contract. The judgement went against D Morgan, which was ordered to pay the defendant £800,000 in professional indemnity costs. Explaining this decision, Mr Coulson said:
“Unhappily, I was driven to conclude that there was a raft of matters on which Mr Morgan’s evidence was highly unreliable and that, on occasion, he told deliberate untruths in order to bolster his case.”