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Courts to be busy with big cases

Lawyers poised for bumper year of disputes

Lawyers are preparing for 2016 to be the biggest paying year for some time as some of the most high profile litigation matters in a decade come to court.

Law firms of all sizes are expected to benefit from a combination of fraud, cartel, mis-selling and negligence claims being brought against a range of institutions including energy, banking and professional services firms as well as the UK government.

According to The Lawyer a number of firms are poised to have one of their busiest years to date with teams preparing for mammoth battles against major institutions of British industry.

It estimates that the combined sum in dispute among the top 20 cases is in excess of £6 billion.

Westminster is being challenged on a number of issues including legal aid procurement and pensions reform.

Among the other headline-grabbing actions will be a group of British women who were sold PIP breast implants, and the Ogale Community who will take on Shell in a jurisdictional challenge over alleged oil spills.

A number of retailers are pursuing Visa and MasterCard over claims they charged anti-competitive fees. Big Four accountant KPMG is facing action from Holmcroft Properties in a case involving interest rate hedging products.

A Kiev-based oligarch and friend of Tony Blair Victor Pinchuk will bring a $2bn claim against two other Ukranian billionaires over a company takeover.

Action over Royal Bank of Scotland’s £4bn rights issue by shareholders would have added further to the list of this year’s hearings but has been adjourned to March 2017.

However, Property Alliance Group is expected to raise allegations regarding the bank’s role in the Libor scandal in an 11-week trial starting in June. Property tycoon Glenn Maud will launch an £800m Euribor-rigging and swaps mis-selling claim against the bank, which goes to its first hearing in May.

Among the biggest cases in Scotland is the ongoing dispute between Rangers chairman Dave King and Sports Direct shareholder Mike Ashley which is due to return to court. Rangers is also still involved in legal action regarding the big tax case.

Another big Scottish case which yet return to the Supreme Court involves the Scotch Whisky Association’s challenge to the Scottish government’s legislation on the minimum pricing of alcohol.

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