Only because of considerable developed experience in litigation and settlement, MCFA are uniquely placed to act for their clients as a facilitator, between the client and legal advisers.
All too often clients proceed to law with little clear concept of any developed strategy or objective targets.
Solicitors and counsel are invariably specialists in law and its application and implementation: but which law applies and how best may a client’s interests be served?
In our considerable experience, most lawyers have limited business expertise and exposure and in order to optimise your case strategy and likely return, it pays to employ a practice with developed expertise in both areas, who can act as a reality buffer between you the client and your legal adviser.
Litigation and indeed most commercial legal services are very expensive: furthermore, the number of solicitors prepared and able to handle claimant’s work is sparse, as most leading firms now act for major companies and organisations as defendant advisers. We have excellent contacts with highly experienced legal firms who can represent your position whether as a Claimant or a Defendant.
MCFA can assist, economically, with client’s problems and disputes by firstly evaluating options and optimal approaches: thereafter, we can perhaps more adequately deal with representing values in arriving at true, supportable loss or damages.
It is often forgotten that courts and defence lawyers invariably call for what is called “Strict proof of loss”, which thus needs professional analysis and careful presentation.
In such areas, MCFA can assist.
During the past twenty years, MCFA has preserved, protected, won, or otherwise benefited our clients to in excess of £1,500,000.
Quite a track record.
A selection of some of the more compelling cases MCFA has handled on behalf of its clients.
Beware of the Dog!
Our client was walking her small non-aggressive dog, in a local park, when a large out-of-control Labrador ran up to her and knocked her over, fracturing a leg in two places.
The Lab’s owner simply walked away leaving our client writhing on the ground in much pain.
She was advised by Citizen’s Advice Bureau she enjoyed no case.
We looked at the matter, holistically, wrote a cogent synopsis and presented this to the partner handling Personal Injury of a large specialist claimant’s solicitors who also advise the client enjoyed no case.
MCFA had previously worked with this firm with significant success; unfortunately, the senior partner had retired.
Not being persuaded there was no case, we researched the Animals Act and decided according to the facts there was indeed a case: and a very good case too.
The Labrador was “Dysfunctional” and had a provable history of being out-of-control in public parks: and this facet was one of the core fulcrums the case revolved around.
The critical matter was, however, would our client be taking action again a “Man of Straw”? (i.e. a defendant with insufficient assets to meet any claims made against them).
The matter was put to another leading Claimant’s firm: who agreed eventually, to proceed on a Conditional Fee Agreement: as the putative defendant was indemnified by a major insurance company.
Eventually, after a case was entered with the County Court, the Defendant’s agreed a settlement prior to trial and our client was awarded £25,500 for loss of amenity, pain and suffering and various costs and expenses, incurred whilst recovering from two demanding surgical procedures.
The dangers of motorcycles!
Our client in this case was the director of two successful companies and a partner in another growing business.
He was riding his large motorbike in drizzling rain on the right hand lane, when a car in the nearside suddenly changed lanes and knocked him over.
As a result he suffered irreversible tendon damage to his right hand: and was right handed.
All apart from having to use hand tools on a daily basis, he was also a talented technical draughtsman and responsible for preparing and modifying large plans in the pursuit of his business: and was under 40 years of age.
Despite two operations, he lost the use of two fingers almost completely.
MCFA’s role was to ensure, as forensic witnesses, that our client’s losses and future impairment were fairly treated by the Court and we worked closely with our client’s lawyers to this end.
An initial approach by the defendant’s advisers was robustly rejected by ourselves and we cited all the flaws in their financial arguments and further drilled down into our client’s financial affairs to support our argument.
The case was settled out of Court eventually, very much to our client’s financial advantage.
A Venal Bank!
Our client had returned to England after many years working abroad.
His full expectation was to take over a house in a rather desirable part of England when his maiden aunt expired, as the house had been bought by his father, in his sister’s name, on the understanding it would be passed to his son.
Our client’s elderly maiden aunt, who had been seriously ill for some time, finally expired and he travelled to his hometown to sit down with the family solicitor and arrange probate, being the sole executor.
When he urgently requested an appointment with MCFA immediately on his return, a tale of unbelievable financial manipulation unfolded!
His aunt had arranged to meet her bank manager, stating she was deeply concerned she was running out of capital: she lived on modest savings and an occupational and state pension, as well as having a small portfolio of shares.
The bank manager – one of the “Big Four” had directed her to a “Financial Adviser”: who had sold her a mortgage product, where the capital would purchase an annuity and the income from the annuity would pay the mortgage and provide a small additional income.
Nice concept and very nice series of commissions for the bank!
There was one glaring flaw in this concept: an annuity is a life assurance backwards, purchased with a lump sum premium and the income level is based on mortality expectation. And this dear lady was, at the time of signing the documents, terminally ill with cancer and taking seriously large doses of Diamorphine!
She drew two payments only; just two; and passed away; leaving her previously freehold property encumbered by a venal mortgage of 75% of its value!
No wonder then our client was frantic.
As a matter of principle, MCFA agreed to take the case on contingency (i.e. No Win - No Fee).
Having obtained our client’s mandate, we contacted the deceased’s doctor who was most helpful and insistent that his late patient would have understood little of the product sold to her so unscrupulously, as one of the unavoidable side affects of such large doses of opiate would be to scramble normal focus, attention and mind activity.
Now one of the core and critical tenets of the original Financial Services Act was to demand all advisers employ “All due diligence and provide every best advice”. Selling an annuity to a terminally ill person could not possibly accord to such a stringent stipulation.
After pointed and robust negotiation and rejection of early derisory offers by the bank, eventually MCFA clawed most of the funds and cost backs to the estate for the benefit of our client.
One point we hammered: the financial adviser for the bank could have added a small life assurance element which would have recovered all monies in the event of death before two years from signing the agreement. At the age then of our client’s aunt, without doubt the insurer’s underwriters would have called for a medical report: and the disclosure of her terminal health condition would have negated the whole matter.
This reality was one of the central planks MCFA mounted in our argument with the bank.
As always, it is the small details and proper research, which win.
Banks - again!
In this case our client operated a small business and had in the days of late 1980s slack credit borrowed in excess of £30,000 from one of the big four.
Her business fell into problems as did so many post 1989/90 as the economy crashed.
She had failed to advise her spouse of the scope of the obligation she and he had signed and the bank endeavoured to proceed against joint assets.
We persuaded the bank creditors they were in breach of both the Financial Services Act and the CCA (Consumer Credit Act 1978) as the spouse had not been represented and properly advised. Most critically, the person selling the financial product (Bank manager and the loan) had failed to carry out the required analysis of the family’s assets and liabilities.
The bank wrote off the debt and cancelled any collection processes immediately.
Unwinding a Partnership.
Our client was the sole remaining client after a three-partner business fell into trading problems and financial dispute.The three partners held equal shares of assets and liabilities.
We assisted in unwinding the business and our remaining client was left owning one commercial and residential mixed property on which was a significant charge from the partnership’s bankers.
We negotiated with the bankers and their legal advisers, eventually persuading them that this charge should be lifted and some settlement be reached.
Sale of Business.
In this long drawn out matter our original client was a gentleman with whom MCFA had enjoyed a long-standing professional relationship for many years.
He had been in partnership in a mixed insurance brokerage, which had expanded by taking over another local brokerage where the proprietor was retiring.
After a number of years, our client was approached to merge his business with a larger limited liability company in the same town.
Which was successfully achieved.
Some few years later the three directors were approached by a very large brokerage, which wished to acquire them as part of a major expansion plan.
After a deal was agreed in principle and both sides legal advisers were instructed, the deal stalled and there seemed irreconcilable differences concerning the methodology to be employed for agreeing share value and payment.
Our client asked MCFA to become involved and we were instructed to act by the three directors, quickly generating a plan for value and completion, which was accepted by both sides.
Shortly after the matter seemed concluded, our original client suffered an accident, which prevented his working for two months. The new company then tried to dismiss him and proved recalcitrant in payment of a large outstanding sum for his earlier shares.
MCFA were again in instructed and thanks to our client enjoying insurance indemnity against legal costs, together with specialist solicitors we were able to demand compensation for his constructive dismissal, compensation for loss of office and future profits share and immediate settlement of capital outstanding.
The sale was completed in such a way that MCFA were confident in the case of any payment default, significant assets were freely available to attack.
Once the matter was settled and we had formalised his Capital Gains position with the Revenue, our client was able to semi-retire.
Investment property: the dangers of Buy-to-Let!
Our client was a young man who together with a friend had unwisely decided to invest in a B2Let flat, which they had purchased with little if any advice.
When the market collapsed the leaseholder of the lower flat was financially secure and was able to purchase the freehold. He instantly instituted various costly works, which our client and his associate were unable to afford.
Due to other extraneous obligation, the associate and co-owner of the flat together with our client went into voluntary bankruptcy: the lender a major building society acquired by a bank commenced re-possession proceedings.
Our client was unaware of the ramifications of purchasing with a 100% mortgage and we explained that even once repossession was final, the insurance underwriters would proceed against him for any shortfall: and as the market collapsed, a shortfall was inevitable.
We negotiated hard with the lender and were able, owing to our client’s lack of any other assets, to agree a voluntary renunciation of interest and immediate possession for the lender all provided that any other claims or shortfalls were written off.
Which was agreed formally to our client’s benefit.
A Director and his Brown Envelope!
We were asked to assist a new client for whom we had recently undertaken other professional work.
He had been summarily dismissed as a director of a City Insurance Brokerage, wherein he owned title to a significant tranche of Stock Options.
Working with leading employment law solicitors, we were able eventually to negotiate successfully for a decent separation package, including market value of both our client’s extant equity holding and options.
Our value here was in forensic value detail of the non-quoted shares and options: the first offer from the company proving derisory.
The Same Director and a Fickle Contractor!
Once the earlier matter was properly concluded, our client then sought similar work on a contract basis and was successful in gaining a short-term contract from a leading City re-insurance brokerage.
He reported on the duly agreed start date to be told he was no longer required!
MCFA took up the cudgels on his behalf and pointed out to the CEO his company were in breach of an agreed contract, the existence of which was proven in writing by their letter of appointment.
They immediately passed over the matter to their legal advisers, a huge global partnership of known aggressive nature.
We simply stuck to our guns and threatened litigation to reach satisfaction for our client and eventually an amicable settlement figure was agreed.
The moral to this salutary tale is the value of always insisting that any commitment be in writing.
By formal letter.