Sorry Nigel!

Defamation specialist Carter Ruck and its managing partner have been humiliated by a judge after the firm failed to file a defence for its client, Horrible Bosses star Kevin Spacey.

The Usual Suspects actor was facing civil and criminal proceedings in relation to various alleged sex offences, but last year Carter Ruck convinced the court to pause the civil case until three months after Spacey's criminal proceedings had concluded.

When the Ordinary Decent Criminal star was acquitted of the criminal charges last July, the clock on the civil stay started running. And kept running for three months until Carter Ruck missed its own deadline to file a defence and the unnamed claimant, represented by Fieldfisher, obtained a judgment in default.

Applying to set aside the judgment, the Horrible Bosses actor's barrister, Adam Speker KC, said Carter Ruck had made a "genuine error".

Judge Jeremy Cook accepted the application but had little sympathy for Carter Ruck's error or its conduct following it.

He said that Managing Partner Nigel Tait’s witness statement was a “little aggressive”* and that he “does not seem to accept the blame”.

Tait had accused the claimant of not following proper procedure by failing to include Spacey’s date of birth in his application for a default judgment, reported the Law Gazette.

The criticism went down like a cup of cold sick with Judge Cook who called it a "thoroughly bad point" and not "the best point to put forward in a situation where the solicitors have, quite frankly, mucked up".

"Where a solicitor, in the vernacular, mucks up, I would accept a full acceptance of that fact and, really, to go on the attack as he has done here looking for holes and loops is really to be deprecated", he said.

"There is no excuse for the date being overlooked", he added, describing Carter Ruck's mistake "when you yourself provided the date for filing" as "serious and significant".

A spokesperson for Carter Ruck told RollOnFriday, "The deadline for the Defence was mistakenly missed, and we heard nothing further from the Claimant (including any notice of their default judgment application) until we received the Order from the Court”.

“We then acted promptly to issue our Application to set aside, supported by a Witness Statement which was apologetic about the regrettable oversight, for which we accepted responsibility.”

*which would certainly be in keeping with the occasional letters ROF receives from the firm.

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Scep Tick 10 May 24 08:30

and we heard nothing further from the Claimant (including any notice of their default judgment application) until we received the Order from the Court


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