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Football boss makes £2m professional negligence claim against solicitors

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Huw Jenkins, former chairman of Championship football club Swansea City FC, is making a claim for damages based on alleged professional negligence against a firm of solicitors who had previously advised him during his divorce in 2017.

Mr Jenkins was chairman of the Welsh club between January 2002 and February 2019, a period of great success for the side including promotion to the Premier League and a League Cup victory in 2013. The 56 year old’s claim for damages is against law firm John Collins & Partners LLP, who had previously advised him in 2011 that his finances were not sufficiently stable to reach to an appropriate financial settlement with his then-wife. Mr Jenkins and his former wife separated in February 2011 but the divorce was not finalised in 2017, during which time Swansea City’s promotion to the Premier League resulted in a significant increase in his personal wealth. This subsequent increase in wealth should have, according to Jenkins, been factored into the advice provided by John Collins & Partners, which would likely have affected their advice to delay the finalisation of his divorce proceedings. As part of the final settlement in 2017, Mr Jenkins had to pay a £2.25m lump sum to his ex-wife as well as transferring assets and agreeing to follow-up payments.

£2m Claim

Lodged in September 2017, the Particulars of Claim allege that the solicitors "failed properly to consider the merits of issuing a divorce petition and seeking a financial remedy order at that time [2011]" and failed to advise him that "should Swansea City AFC gain promotion to the Premier League, and/or his financial position improve, he should immediately consider issuing divorce proceedings to minimise the potential claim against him by his wife". The claim continues, asserting that Mr Jenkins therefore "lost the opportunity to… bring before the Courts the financial remedies determination at a time when his financial position would have resulted in a considerably lower award being made to his wife" and as a consequence he suffered loss in the region of some £2.25m, "such being the difference between the amount he would have been ordered to pay his wife in 2011, and the amount paid in 2017".

In response, a spokesman for John Collins & Partners said:

We are obviously disappointed that a claim, which we consider has no merit, has been allowed to continue, albeit in part…Mr Jenkins didn't follow protocol and issued proceedings out of the blue after failing to undertake even the most basic of litigation checks. The recent judgment requires Mr Jenkins to plead his case again for the parts which are allowed to proceed…if and when he re-pleads in respect of those parts which are allowed to proceed, we will consider the new case and will continue to defend it vigorously."

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