This one is personal, but not in a good way
Mishcon de Reya has said it will "defend robustly" a claim that it should have known payments of nearly £3 million in legal fees were misappropriated by a former client.
In a claim brought by the Tonstate Group earlier this year, Mishcon is accused of "turning a blind eye" when ex-client Edward Wojakovski paid the firm just over £2.9 million in legal fees, which came from misappropriated funds.
Wojakovski had wrongfully taken around £13 million from the Tonstate Group during his time as a director. He admitted taking the money in another court case, and failed in his defence that he did so with the consent of the co-owner of the business (who was also his former father-in-law).
The Tonstate Group claim that Mishcon had "actual and/or constructive knowledge" that Wojakovski had breached his fiduciary duty when the firm accepted fees on a litigation matter for the former director.
This week, Judge Iain Pester deemed that money given to Mishcon by Wojakovski ultimately belonged to the Tonstate Group, and that point did not need to be determined at court. But the group failed to convince the judge to award summary judgment against Mishcon. The judge said that a trial was needed to decide whether or not the group can recover the fees paid to Mishcon, on the basis that the firm should have known the money was misappropriated.
“The claimants attempted to make this a matter for a summary judgment application and failed," said a Mishcon de Reya spokeswoman. "This will now go to trial and any claims will be defended robustly.”