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Court to rule if £5m. action against law firm is too late

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AN ATTEMPT to have a claim against a law firm for up to £5m. rejected has been heard in the Royal Court.

Roy Smith, pictured after a laundry room fire at L’Atlantique, as it was then called, in 2012.

Roy Smith, who was once the tenant of the former L’Atlantique Hotel, is actioning Carey Olsen over alleged failings of the advocates in representing him after the hotel was taken over by new owners.

Carey Olsen is defending the claim, but it applied to the court to have the case ruled out of time, based on its terms and conditions.

One paragraph of the terms states that any claim against the law firm for loss, damage or liability arising from or connected to its legal services needed to be made either within three years of the date of the work being performed or from the date of termination of the services.

The law firm said that Mr Smith’s allegations related to a period between 11 June and 12 July 2012, but his first action against the firm was not tabled until January 2018 and it was therefore out of time.

The call for the case to be dismissed was heard at a preliminary hearing, which began with Mr Smith being given permission for Howard Young, a director of UK firm SQN Global Ltd, to speak on his behalf.

In opposing Carey Olsen’s application, Mr Young cited legal precedents where someone was not found to be liable to terms and conditions for various reasons.

Advocate Alasdair Davidson, for the law firm, said it had stressed the importance of reading its terms to Mr Smith and he had signed that he had read them.

After more than a day hearing the arguments, Deputy Bailiff Richard McMahon reserved his judgment, which he will deliver at a later date.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter

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