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‘Brought to an end’: Addleshaw Goddard and Grant Thornton settle Berezovsky fee dispute

Following an original High Court costs ruling in April, Addleshaw Goddard has reached a settlement with the administrators of former client Boris Berezovsky’s estate, ending a dispute over £12.6m in fees.

The administrators, Grant Thornton partners Nicholas Wood and Kevin Hellard, had refused to pay the legal fees relating to litigation undertaken by Berezovsky against the estate of Arkadi Patarkatsishvili, metals magnate Vasily Anisimov and other parties, as they believed the estate to be insolvent. These disputes were run concurrent to the more well-known court action Berezovsky had against Roman Abramovich, which Addleshaws also acted on.

The administrators argued against Addleshaws, claiming the firm’s contract with Berezovsky had been a conditional fee arrangement rather than a contentious business agreement and that even if owed, that the firm would rank alongside unsecured creditors.

However, the court disagreed and Master Campbell handed down judgment on 8 April in Addleshaws’ favour. Grant Thornton appealed the decision and the case was due to be heard in the Chancery Division of the High Court on 8 December, but has now settled.

Addleshaws said in a statement: ‘The parties are pleased to announce that the proceedings have been brought to an end. The terms of the settlement agreement are confidential and no further comment will be made.’

The firm began legal proceedings in the High Court against trustees Wood and Hellard of Grant Thornton – which were then the administrators, and later became the trustees of the estate – back in October 2014.

Addleshaws’ instructed Nicholas Bacon QC and Danial Saoul of 4 New Square on its claim alongside South Square’s John Briggs. The administrators turned to Holman Fenwick Willan partner Noel Campbell for their defence, which instructed 4 New Square’s Robert Marven and Stephen Atherton QC from 20 Essex Street.

For more coverage of the landmark Berezovsky litigation see: Battle Royale