Mishcon de Reya client and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has lost a High Court battle over the £640,000 annual rent of a London pub.
Ramsay argued that he was not liable for the rent of the York & Albany Pub near Regent’s Park as his father-in-law Christopher Hutcheson had used a ‘ghost-writing’ machine to forge his signature on the 25-year lease in 2007. This signature made him the personal guarantor on the deal carried out by Gordon Ramsay Holdings International, which was 30% owned by his father-in-law and business partner Hutcheson.
Mishcon de Reya’s head of professional negligence Richard Gerstein was selected by Ramsay, who claimed he should not be held responsible for the 25-year lease, to work on the case which has now been dismissed by the High Court. Gerstein instructed Wilberforce Chambers‘ Jonathan Seitler QC and Benjamin Faulkner.
Regarding the outcome of the case, Gordon Ramsay said: ‘We’re obviously disappointed with the verdict but do not regret bringing the issue to court, which is sadly yet another fall out from the mismanagement of the company by its CEO before he was removed in 2010. We are now reviewing the options available to us.’
Film director Gary Love, who owns the York & Albany pub, instructed boutique London law firm Jeffrey Green Russell and was represented in court by Romie Tager QC and Alexander Goold of Selborne Chambers.
Mr Justice Morgan said: ‘Mr Hutcheson was acting within the wide general authority conferred on him by Mr Ramsay at all times until Mr Hutcheson’s dismissal in October 2010.’
He concluded: ‘Mr Ramsay may now regret the transaction in relation to the premises. He may particularly regret his involvement as a guarantor. He may consider that Mr Hutcheson did a bad deal. However, on my findings, he is not able to say that Mr Hutcheson exceeded his authority in any respect. I hold that Mr Ramsay, acting through his agent Mr Hutcheson, is bound by the guarantee in the lease of the premises.’