Paul Baxendale Walker

Baxendale-Walker - just a typical ex-tax lawyer


Irwin Mitchell has been granted summary judgment against an ex-solicitor and porn baron over a professional negligence dispute.

Former barrister and tax solicitor Paul Baxendale-Walker (also known as Paul Chaplin) made the obvious career choice after he was struck-off in 2007 and bought himself a porn company. He eventually sold it for an estimated $20 million, though not before 'acting' in a few of the films himself. He also bought classic grot mags Men Only, Mayfair and Club, as well as Loaded magazine. A colourful character, Baxendale-Walker may be the only author of books on tax law to have also faced a legal action from a former glamour model. He now offers his services as a "psychologist and healer".

The background to the dispute with Irwin Mitchell revolves around Baxendale-Walker obtaining a loan in 2013 of just under £3.9 million from APL Management to re-mortgage his Surrey mansion. The loan was payable at a very high monthly rate of 2.8% a month (33.6% per annum).

In 2014 he stopped making payments under the loan and instructed Irwin Mitchell to explore challenging the loan for breaching consumer credit law. The firm commenced an action in the County Court, but in 2015 Baxendale-Walker switched solicitors and gave Irwin Mitchell the boot.

The claim went to trial, but without much success for the porn baron - in 2017, the judge made a declaration that Baxendale-Walker owed APL almost £6.8 million for the loan. He was declared bankrupt in 2018.

Baxendale-Walker signed a Deed of Assignment two years ago which purported to assign his causes of action against Irwin Mitchell to a BVI corporation, Burleigh House (PTC) Ltd. 

Burleigh House Ltd issued proceedings alleging that Irwin Mitchell was negligent in failing to advise Baxendale-Walker to accept refinancing terms, or to explore refinancing options. The claimant's case was that had the loan been refinanced, interest would have been repayable at a much lower rate, and proceedings against APL would have been settled.

Irwin Mitchell sought summary judgment, arguing that Baxendale-Walker's purported assignment to the BVI company was ineffective as a clause in their retainer stated: "You may not assign all or any part of the benefit of, or your rights and benefits under, the agreement of which these standard terms and condition [sic] form part." 

The judge ruled that Irwin Mitchell's clause "on its face precluded assignment of the right to sue in contract." Granting summary judgment, he said Burleigh House Ltd did not have "a real prospect of showing that it did not also preclude assignment of the right to sue in tort".

A spokesman for Paul Baxendale-Walker disputed that Burleigh House Ltd brought the claim as a purported assignee, and stated that "Mr Baxendale-Walker was a nominee". He also said the "issue was not dealt with at first instance" and the matter was "pending grant of leave to appeal".

Irwin Mitchell declined to comment. 

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Comments

Anonymous 16 April 21 08:52

Jesus - why would you ever use IM for anything apart from iffy PI claims? That's all they do!

Nonn2 16 April 21 09:21

It’s not all IM do and PBW probs has difficulty getting representation elsewhere 

Anonymous 16 April 21 09:28

"It’s not all IM do"

Yes, that's a fair observation.

The original poster should have said iffy PI claims are the only thing that IM do well.

Anonymous 16 April 21 09:30

Must take quite a lot of effort to flog a company for $20m and then still manage to go bankrupt...

Snitchell 16 April 21 09:39

08.52 - it's not all they do. They stare out of their windows and make adverts for daytime TV which say things like "did you have an accident which wasn't your fault". That and hire/churn lateral hire partners like it's going out of fashion.

Debbie does Irwin Mitchell 16 April 21 09:44

IM is the firm of choice for porn producers. Their legal services are ones you'd be embarrassed to talk about in polite company, they are slightly grubby, involve exploited, underpaid staff and entails a lot of artifice and pretending on the participants' part. 

I do recall IM taking a different attitude to porn not so long ago...

Toby Greenlord, Freeman on the Land 16 April 21 23:56

I beat off a solicitor once.

With a golf club.

He lost his temper and went for me in the car park after I destroyed his case with my masterful analysis of The Magna Carter.

So I whipped a niblick out of the boot of the Jag and beat him like an egg.

AbsurdinessBrown 17 April 21 13:12

I remember stumbling upon a Mayfair at about 8 or so.

Always thought thereafter that's why it was the most expensive lot on the Monopoly board. 

Anonymous 22 April 21 22:17

I must be a poor lawyer.  I would consider it more than arguable that the exclusion clause in respect of assignment should be read down so as not to preclude assignment of a claim in tort and an arguable claim is all that is required to stave off summary judgment.