Law firm Mishcon faces lawsuit in UK over $3.4m in ‘illegally mined’ fees

  • Law firm awarded $3.4 million levied on real estate group, judge says
  • Mishcon says lawsuit will be ‘vigorously defended’ at trial

LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters) – British law firm Mishcon de Reya has received around 3 million pounds (about $3.4 million) in misappropriated legal fees from a property investment firm, a judge has heard in London.

Tonstate Group’s claim that the money Mishcon received from its former client Edward Wojakovski ultimately belonged to the group can be decided in favor of the company without a trial, Judge Iain Pester ruled on Wednesday.

But he said Tonstate’s case that it was entitled to recover money paid to Mishcon, on the grounds that the company should have known it had been embezzled, should be resolved at trial, dismissing the claim for Tonstate’s summary judgment.

A spokesperson for Mishcon de Reya said: “The plaintiffs attempted to seek summary judgment and failed. This will now go to trial and any claims will be vigorously defended. »

Tonstate attorney Shlomo Rechtschaffen said in a statement that his client was happy with the decision.

The judgment follows a long-running dispute between Tonstate and Wojakovski, a former director of the group who hired Mishcon to represent it when it was sued by Tonstate in 2018.

Tonstate, which was owned by Wojakovski and his former father-in-law Arthur Matyas, has taken legal action to recover almost £13million that Wojakovski had extracted from the group.

Wojakovski admitted to taking money from the firm and his defense that Matyas had consented to was thrown out by a London High Court judge in 2019.

The case is Tonstate Group Ltd and others v Mishcon de Reya LLP, BL-2021-001905.

For Tonstate: Andrew Fulton KC and Sam Goodman, of Twenty Essex, and Rechtschaffen Law.

For Mishcon: Jamie Smith KC, of ​​4 New Square Chambers, Pia Dutton, of 3VB, and Clyde & Co.

Reporting by Sam Tobin

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Denise W. Whigham