The firm issued a writ against the four, including former national head of tax Jeremy Francis, who joined Group A rival Grant Thornton. The others, Keith Mitchell, John Corbishley and Simon Lowe, also left Robsons after rows over governance and increased capital contributions to the firm.
The High Court order seeks to restrain the four, who now work in Kettering and London, from performing accountancy or audit work for any former client for three years.
It also aims to stop them poaching any other Robsons ’employees for Grant Thornton. Additionally, Robsons is claiming damages for breach of an agreement signed when the four defected.
A Robsons spokesman said: ‘It is a normal procedure for protecting a professional firm’s business. But we do not wish to comment further for the time being.’
Robsons insiders previously said the Cambridge office was secretly negotiating a merger with Grant Thornton for over two years because the partners were unhappy about their increasingly ‘peripheral’ status within the national practice and exclusion from lucrative work offered to other offices. Grant Thornton refused to comment on the matter.
The battle climaxed when the rebel partners launched an abortive buyout bid when the merger talks collapsed.
A new team has since taken over the Cambridge office.
Led by Frank Attwood – previously head of Robsons’ London office – and supported by corporate finance partner Elaine Bell. Peter Buckler joined from the Bristol office to become audit partner.
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