High Court victory for City accountants in merger row.

City accountancy firm Pridie Brewster has won a High Court claim against Raymond Harris, the sole proprietor of accountants Raymond Harris & Dollar, for damages for breach of contract.

The case centered on whether a letter dated 18 March 1986 from Pridie Brewster and countersigned by Harris constituted a legally binding agreement in respect of the future merger of the practices. The judge held that it did.

He said that in the years following the letter the two firms were never formally merged but Harris worked on a part-time consultancy basis for Pridie Brewster. In turn Pridie Brewster carried out work for Harris’s clients and paid him fees under the terms of the agreement.

However, in late 1998 Harris began negotiations for the transfer of his business to another firm, Harris Krafton.

He claimed that the March 1986 letter was a gentleman’s agreement.

However, finding that Pridie Brewster was entitled to damages, to be decided at a future date, Deputy High Court Judge David Vaughan QC said today that he had no doubt that the March 1986 letter constituted a legally binding agreement.

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