Court success: A welcome result for the borough

Published Monday 17 October 2022 at 17:37

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has today welcomed a high court judgement.

The Council has successfully defended a claim brought by Thomas Barnes and Sons plc (in administration) regarding the construction of Blackburn Bus Station.

The insolvent contractor had initially tried to claim £3 million from the Council, although this was reduced to £1.7 million just before the trial.

The claim was heard at the trial over 11 days in July 2022 in the Technology and Construction Court division of the High Court in Manchester.

His Honour Judge Stephen Davies, handed down his judgment on Monday, October 17, 2022, and held that the Council is not required to pay any money to Thomas Barnes and Sons.

The Judge decided that the Council was entitled to terminate the contract with Thomas Barnes and Sons, because of their delays in the construction of Blackburn Bus Station.

The Judge also decided that the Council’s termination of Thomas Barnes and Sons’ employment was valid.

The court also ruled that the Council was entitled to offset the costs of employing another contractor to complete the Bus Station.

His Honour Judge Stephen Davies concluded: “It follows that the claimant (Thomas Barnes) has no prospect of recovering anything in this litigation.”

The Council considered that the claim by Thomas Barnes and Sons had no merit whatsoever and so, after unsuccessful attempts to resolve the dispute, the Council had no alternative but to robustly defend its position in Court.

Asad Laher, Deputy Director of Legal Governance, said: “The Council is very pleased with the court’s judgement today which vindicates the Council’s decision to terminate the contract with Thomas Barnes.

“The Council only ever uses litigation as a last resort, as a way to resolve disputes and in this case always sought to avoid costly proceedings. However, faced with multi-million pound claims, which were meritless, we strongly defended the claim supported by expert legal advice.”

The Council will now look to recover its costs of defending the claim.

The Bus Station has long been completed and opened in May 2016 and forms an outstanding architectural asset to the town. It has been shortlisted for several prestigious national design awards.

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