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14 JUL 2008

Divorcee sues lawyers for alleged professional negligence

According to a report in the Telegraph last week, a divorcee is suing the Reading-based solicitors, Thompson Leatherdale, and her former barrister, Nicholas Francis QC, for alleged professional negligence during her divorce case and is seeking £1.6 million in compensation.

Carol Williams, 61, won a £1.4 million settlement in 2000 from her ex-husband, the businessman John Williams.

The allegations are that Mr Francis should, in 2000, have advised Mrs Williams to suspend negotiations pending the landmark decision in White v White which was ruled on two months after Mrs Williams settled. As he failed to do so, Thompson Leatherdale should have put a stop on the proposed consent order when the speeches in White were delivered.

The decision in White enabled the courts to make settlements reflecting the wealth of the parties, and not just their needs and requirements, allowing for more generous settlements in big money cases.

Mrs Williams claims that if she had waited until after the case she would have received a settlement of nearly £3 million. She is now being represented by Valentine Le Grice QC of 1 Hare Court and Clifford Mailer of Goldsmith Chambers.

The defendants deny all negligence. The evidence will finish today with submissions on Friday. Judgment is expected to be reserved.

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