Cleveland Bridge and Multiplex are set to drag out their four-year battle over Wembley stadium even further, after it emerged both sides have asked for leave to appeal September’s High Court verdict, writes Sarah Richardson.
Both sides lodged applications to appeal aspects of the verdict on Tuesday, the last date permitted following Judge Jackson’s ruling that Cleveland Bridge (CBUK) must pay Multiplex about £8m in damages and costs.
Despite a warning from Jackson in the September trial that the parties had “cycled over the edge of a precipice into an abyss” by continuing to fight each other in the courts, it is understood that CBUK is appealing up to five points in the judgment. In response, Multiplex, which said it would not appeal unless CBUK did, is believed to be appealing three or four points. A judge will now decide whether the case will be heard in the Court of Appeal.
Should an appeal be successful, it is still unlikely to grant CBUK much relief, but the move further prolongs a case in which the legal costs have grown to dwarf the sum at stake. The parties have spent about £22m so far; the bill for photocopying alone is £1m.
The CBUK dispute centred on the steel specialist’s £60m subcontract for steelwork, including the stadium’s arch. CBUK was found to be in breach of contract for walking off the project in 2004 following a dispute over payment.
The parties have spent about £22m so far; the bill for photocopying alone has come to £1m
In the September hearing, which had been expected to conclude the epic battle, Jackson ruled that CBUK owed Multiplex £6,154,246.79 in damages for breach of contract, overpayments and interest. It had been seeking up to £25m, although damages were capped at £6m.
The dispute is one of a series of actions over the Wembley project. The stadium was completed a year late in 2007 at a cost of £757m, compared with an original guaranteed maximum of £458m.
For the full Wembley saga, search www.building.co.uk/archive