Judge rules negligence did not cause loss to former Sheffield United owners

Although its lawyers were negligent in their advice over Sheffield United’s sale to Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, that negligence had not caused any loss to the former owners, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mrs Justice Bacon therefore dismissed claims for compensation of up to £150m by Cutlers Holdings, as the former owners’s firm is now called, against Scottish law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn in a remote judgment handed down yesterday.

The case is the latest of the legal battles of the sale of the Blades’ sale to Prince Abdullah, with a judge ruling in 2019 that former owner Kevin McCabe must sell his remaining shares in the club’s parent company to the Saudi royal.

More recently, Prince Abdullah has been attempting to sell the club on. A proposed deal with American businessman Henry Mauriss fell through last year. In February it was announced that a deal with an unnamed African billionaire was close to completion.

Mrs Justice Bacon ruled that although Shepherd and Wedderburn had failed to properly advise the former owners over matters relating to a clause in the sale agreement, and had not declared a conflict of interest, “The claimants have not established that any loss was caused by the negligence of S+W in relation to the drafting of the ISA and Stadium Option, the December 2017 advice, or the conflict of interest issue,” she wrote in her judgment, adding. “The claims therefore fail.”

She dismissed a negligence claim against Shepherd and Wedderburn managing partner Andrew Blain litigation partner Philip Sewell.

A spokesperson for Shepherd and Wedderburn said: “We welcome the Court’s decision that all of the claims against us failed.  From the outset, our position was that these claims would not, and should not, succeed. While there are aspects of the judgement with which we disagree, we are pleased that the claims have been defeated.”