In 2010 Mr K set up a small business that manufactured and installed heat pumps. To meet growing demand for the company’s services, the company marketed a new franchise business model following which Mr A entered into a franchise agreement with the company.
The company had new investors, and Mr K eventually left the company in April 2017. The company collapsed in April 2018. Sometime after this, Mr A brought a claim against Mr K for fraudulent misrepresentation on the basis that he had relied on a series of fraudulent misrepresentations made by Mr K, including as to the training which he would receive as a franchisee. This claim was disputed by Mr K, who had prepared a detailed training programme and kept all the records of the training provided to all franchisees.
At the time Mr A brought the claim, Mr K was not working. He was going through a divorce and had returned to living with his mother. His opportunities were further limited by the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. He did not have the funds to pay for appropriate legal advice to defeat the claim against him. He attempted to file a defence and apply to strike out the claim without success.
Mr K was receiving regular legal correspondence from Mr A’s legal team and feeling extremely vulnerable and pressured. The situation was emotionally damaging. Mr K applied for legal help through Advocate and was assigned support from pupil barrister Ben Norton at Henderson Chambers. After initially assessing the case, Ben sought solicitor assistance through Pro Bono Connect and the case was accepted by a team led by Fiona Boyle at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP).
BCLP and Ben Norton worked tirelessly with Mr K to gather further evidence and prepare for trial, including making two successful interim applications to make good deficiencies in Mr K’s defence and witness statement which were prepared without the benefit of legal advice. After a trial in March 2021, the claim against Mr K was dismissed and an order for Mr K’s costs as a litigant in person and pro bono costs, payable to The Access to Justice Foundation, was made.
This was a fantastic outcome for Mr K and a huge relief. He now feels he can look forward to the future without the worry of the pending court case, and the stigma of being accused of fraudulent misrepresentation. The case has also had an impact on his elderly mother who has supported him throughout.
Mr K said of the barrister Ben Norton “he was extremely thorough…very clear and helpful….and kept me positive throughout”. Of his legal team at BCLP he said “they were phenomenal, they left no stone unturned and worked tirelessly, going over and beyond”.
Mr K said of Pro Bono Connect “it is an invaluable facility. Without the support of both barrister and solicitor such progress would have been impossible. It shows the legal system in its best light. I am so thankful.”
Fiona Boyle of BCLP said “we are delighted to have been able to work with Ben Norton of Henderson Chambers to assist Mr K in navigating the often complex court proceedings and in achieving an order dismissing the claim against him. The Pro Bono Connect scheme offers a fantastic opportunity for us to collaborate with barristers and assist those who need it most. We also hope that the pro bono cost order obtained in favour of The Access to Justice Foundation will assist the overall effort to provide practical access to justice to those unable to afford legal help.”
Ben Norton of Henderson Chambers said “I first became involved in the case through Advocate. However, in light of the nature and extent of the work required, it quickly became apparent that the client needed further assistance from both a barrister and solicitors. Pro Bono Connect made this possible. The scheme worked seamlessly. I was matched with an exceptional team from BCLP and we obtained an excellent outcome for the client at trial. Highly recommended.”
Pro Bono Connect is the only scheme that enables solicitors and barristers to be matched to work on cases together pro bono. This collaboration between the lawyers ensures that the client gets the best possible service.