Eversheds defends £100m Northern Rock claim over allegations of professional negligence

Eversheds is being sued by Northern Rock Asset Management (NRAM) over allegations of professional negligence, in a claim worth £100m.

The claim, filed by NRAM, is in relation to advice the law firm provided following a review of two annual statements for a ‘together loan’ – a combination of a secured mortgage and an unsecured loan at a single interest rate with one combined monthly payment.

However despite a claim form, there is currently no case management conference, no claim particulars and no trial date set.

NRAM is instructing Brick Court Chambers’ Tom Adam QC and Tony Singla, with Reed Smith partner Tom Webley acting.

It is understood that Brick Court was first instructed two years ago by NRAM, and little progress has been made in the interim period.

Eversheds has instructed Clyde & Co, with partner James Preece instructing 4 New Square’s Jonathan Hough QC and George Spalton.

Northern Rock claims that the annual statements ‘did not comply with the requirements of the Consumer Credit Act’. The claim form also adds that Eversheds failed to provide advice within a ‘reasonable time’.

The claimant alleges the negligent advice given by Eversheds meant the loans were not enforceable and NRAM became liable to repay or refund all charges and interest it had charged to borrowers.

An Eversheds spokesperson said: ‘This claim is being vigorously defended. Eversheds is fully satisfied that it discharged its duty of care to NRAM and that the claim is without foundation’

‘Eversheds was asked to review a suite of loan documentation by NRAM in 2010, to consider compliance with the Consumer Credit Act. Eversheds advised an experienced commercial lawyer within NRAM’s legal department, who was responsible for consumer credit documentation, that NRAM’s documentation did not appear to include certain information necessary to comply with the prevailing regulations (which Eversheds specified). NRAM appear not to have acted on that advice for a considerable period or at all, and is now seeking to blame Eversheds for the consequences of the information being absent from the documentation’.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk