A High Court judge has torn a strip off a sportswear firm run by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.
Mr Justice Peter Smith said Sports Direct had abused court processes during a High Court dispute with Rangers.
The judge said his wanted to mark his disapproval of Sports Direct’s approach after analysing preliminary issues in the dispute at a High Court hearing in London.
Mr Justice Smith said Sports Direct was claiming that Rangers had breached a confidential agreement.
He said the firm had initially claimed £200, 000 damages. It had then reduced the damages claim to £50, 000.
Now it was not claiming any damages – but wanted the imposition of injunctions.
Mr Justice Smith said £200,000 was a threshold figure.
Claims for damages of £200,000 or more were analysed by judges in the High Court, while lesser damages claims were heard in lower civil courts.
He said he was “extremely suspicious” about the £200,000 figure.
The judge added: “The whole way that the claimants have been conducting themselves … shows that they have been abusing processes of the court in relation to the damages claim.”
A lawyer representing Rangers had earlier also complained about Sports Direct’s approach.
Barrister William McCormick QC told the judge: “They simply will not deal with us on a proper basis.
“I am sure it is not the lawyers. It must be because they are held by their instructions.”
Mr Justice Smith is due to analyse Sports Direct’s claim at a High Court trial in London in February.