Barclays’ bosses must pick up the £30 million lawyers’ bills they ran up during a High Court fight with a businesswoman – despite coming out on top, a judge has ruled.
Amanda Staveley sued the bank for hundreds of millions of pounds after making complaints about the behaviour of bosses when negotiating investment deals during the 2008 financial crisis.
She said PCP Capital Partners, a private equity firm she runs, would have invested in the bank on “vastly better terms” 13 years ago, but for Barclays’ “false representations”.
Mr Justice Waksman, who heard evidence at a High Court trial during the summer of 2020, in February ruled against Ms Staveley.
He concluded that Barclays, which had wanted to avoid going into Government ownership, had been guilty of “serious deceit” and said Roger Jenkins, a Barclays boss in 2008, had knowingly made false representations.
Nevertheless, he dismissed Ms Staveley’s claim after deciding that she had not established “loss”.
But he has now declared a fight over who should pick up which legal bills as a draw.
He heard that Barclays had run up in the region of £30 million in lawyers’ bills and PCP around £20 million.
Normally losers pick up winners’ legal bills, and Barclays bosses said the judge should follow the normal rule.
Lawyers representing Barclays said the bank should get most, if not all, of their costs.
Ms Staveley disagreed and said she had been vindicated despite losing the battle.
She argued that the normal rule should not be followed, because the judge found in her favour on a number of issues, and said Barclays should pay some of PCP’s costs.
Mr Justice Waksman decided on Thursday that each side should pay its own costs.
Ms Staveley welcomed the decision.
“The court found that Barclays had orchestrated a fraud against PCP – that it was ‘guilty of serious deceit’,” she said.
“I am grateful that the court has again recognised the significance of the deceit which was perpetrated on PCP and the ‘very large financial benefit’ which Barclays obtained from its deceit, by ensuring that PCP does not pay Barclays’ legal costs.”
Lawyers representing PCP told the judge that an initial damages claim was for a sum between £1.6 billion and £400 million.
By the end of the trial, PCP was arguing for amounts ranging between around £830 million and around £600 million.
The judge heard that PCP was being bankrolled by litigation funders.