PracticeConsultingSmall firm’s appeal only makes it worse

Small firm's appeal only makes it worse

Three leading judges in the Court of Appeal have dismissed an attempt by chartered accountants George Little Sebire & Co to have nearly £51,000 damages awarded against them removed.

The judges instead increased the award by a further £950 in a dispute over property sale taxation.

The firm had challenged the September 1999 decision of High Court deputy Judge David Foskett QC to award Richard Little, John Smith and Gerard Wade £50,946 on the basis of the accountants’ negligence in working as auditors and tax advisers to the claimants’ company, DWW Holdings Ltd.

The men had sought the firm’s advice to reduce tax payable on twotransactions – the purchase of another partner’s share in the business for £209,000 and the £349,999 sale of a property known as The Old Bakery, in Harlow.

However, Lords Justices Peter Gibson and Clarke and Mr Justice Maurice Kay refused the accountants’ appeal. Instead they allowed the three men’s cross appeal and increased the award to £51,895.

They backed the judge’s findings that the accountants were negligent in giving advice on two tax-limiting schemes, and failing to advise properly on the importance of timing the schemes correctly.

Little and others v George Little Sebire & Co – COA – 14 June – before Peter Gibson and Clark LJJ and Maurice Kay J – Giles Goodfellow instructed by Wright Hassal & Co of Leamington Spa for Little and others – Patrick Lawrence instructed by Kennedys for George Little Sebire & Co

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