Saturday 25 October 2014

Fancy that - ENRC chalks up a win against lawyers in court

There is plenty of coverage this morning about the court case involving Dechert and Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation, the mining company that used to be listed on the FTSE 100 index.

Here is a link to Financial Times piece on the topic:

And it appears ENRC has won this latest skirmish in the courts when Mr Justice Roth prevented Dechert - the law firm that charged ENRC £16.3 million for conducting an internal investigation - from opening a fees dispute with the mining company to the general public.

Here is the quick back story in case you haven't been following the story step by step: Dechert reportedly said it wanted to put all its dealings with ENRC on view to the public during the case.

However, I am told by my mole down at the courts that the judge disagreed and couldn't understand why Dechert had loaded its witness statements with so much (potentially negative?) information about ENRC.

My court mole has also emailed in some quotes (see below) from the last few days sessions from Mr Justice Roth:

“I consider that there is no ground for finding that [client] privilege was . . . waived completely and for any use of the documents that is wholly irrelevant to that assessment. For example, the affairs of ENRC, as a former public company, have attracted some media interest and I think that the implied waiver to which the . . . application gave rise could not possibly entitle Dechert to hand over all the documents concerning their former client to an inquiring journalist.”

“I have no doubt that the present case is one where the interests of justice require that the reading by the costs judge of the papers should not have the effect of putting them into the public domain.”

“In total, Dechert has billed ENRC over £16.3 million . . . ENRC became increasingly concerned about the level of Dechert’s fees and what it perceived to be serious over-charging.”

“The interests of justice require that the reading by the Costs judge of the papers should not have the effect of putting them in the public domain.”

“There is the potential for very real prejudice to ENRC if the matter were heard in public.”

“The effective protection of ENRC’s rights therefore requires that the matter be heard in private.”

“What legitimate interest has Dechert in that the application should be heard in public?”

“I can see no need for the hearing itself to be in public, which is the issue on this appeal, in order adequately to protect Dechert’s interests. Indeed, I would have thought that a public hearing might have a contrary effect since all the allegations advanced by ENRC regarding its overcharging would than be rehearsed before a public audience.”

Dechert’s solicitor “exhibits a bundle of press articles which he says include reports that ENRC is ‘suing Dechert for overcharging millions of pounds’ . . . I recognize Dechert’s understandable concern to vindicate its position. But I consider that this concern will be entirely met by a public judgment determining the costs application.”

“Finally, it is not suggested that there is some particular public interest on the facts of this case for holding the hearing in public.”

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