Tenants of restaurant premises obtained judgment against their landlords for breaches of covenants in their lease. The next stage of the case was for the court to assess how much compensation should be paid to the tenants. The landlords made an offer, but the tenants did not accept it. At that point, the landlords asked us to represent them.

After nearly two years of preparation for a hearing on compensation, the tenants accepted the offer the landlords had made. Payment was delayed. The tenants’ solicitors then obtained a court order, without notice to the landlords. The order prevented our clients from selling their properties or spending money from their account.

When we examined the witness statement which a member of the tenants’ solicitors’ firm had made, we concluded that it contained a number of incorrect assertions. But for those assertions, the Court would not have granted an order described as a “nuclear option”.

We challenged the basis on which the order had been obtained. Specifically, we said that the court had been misled when it had been asked to grant the order.

Following two years of litigation, and a 5-day trial, the order was set aside.

In her judgment, Her Honour Judge Hazel Marshall observed:

“I have already commented on the sway of the ‘balance of power’, as I have described it, in the case. What seems to me to have happened is that when, after the liability hearing, there was ultimately a change of solicitor to the present solicitors acting for the defendants, the claimants began to meet more of a match in terms of the tenacity, ingenuity, astuteness and indeed stamina with which the proceedings now began to be pursued on the other side. R R Sanghvi were able to give as good as they got in the pugnacious way in which this litigation has been conducted, with few holds barred as far as applications were concerned. The claimants have had the enormous energy and enthusiasm of Mr Fleming and also, I think, Mr Marshall behind this. The defendants now began to have the energy of Mr Sanghvi who was both well able and willing to contest what was being advanced, or demanded, by the claimants, on its merits, and was not minded to ‘roll over’ or let points go unanswered…”