Moore Stephens has won its landmark case against former client Stone &
Rolls, in a decision which could limit the risks to firms from litigation
judgment, the Court of Appeal agreed to strike out Stone & Rolls fraud
claim against former auditor Moore Stephens.
The frauds at Stone & Rolls were committed by the company’s boss, meaning
its claim that it should be compensated for a failure to detect its own frauds
was always likely to be controversial.
‘It is contrary to all common sense to uphold a claim that would confer
direct or indirect benefits on the corporate vehicle, which was used to commit
the fraud and was not the victim of it, and the fraudulent driver of the
fraudulent vehicle,’ said Lord Justice Mummery, who also referred to it as an
The Court held unanimously that the claim, funded by IM Litigation Funding,
should be struck out. Stone & Rolls are now thought to be intending to apply
to the House of Lords to leave to appeal the verdict.
The case has been closely watched because of the
funding. Fears have been raised that if the claim, for $174m (£89m), was
successful, other firms could face similarly speculative claims.
Moore Stephens’ senior partner Richard Moore said: ‘When Stone & Rolls
launched its claim at the end of 2006, we said that we considered the claim
against us to be wholly illegitimate. We are naturally pleased that the
judgement of the Court of Appeal striking out the claim on public policy grounds
has vindicated that stance.’
He added that the firm will not be making any further public comment while
the appeal process continues.
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