UK: William Baird Considers Petition To The High Court
British textiles group, William Baird, today said it was "very disappointed" by the Court of Appeal's decision to dismiss its multi-million pound claim against Marks & Spencer. It also said that the battle may not be over yet and the company may fight on and petition the High Court "on a point of law".
A spokesman for William Baird said: "There is a Board meeting next week and it will need a Board decision but they are considering taking another step.
"They may petition the High Court on a point of law. I understand they have around 28 days or so to go to the next stage and may want to use this time to make a decision."
David Suddens, chief executive of William Baird said in a press statement: "We were firmly of the opinion that we had a strong case against Marks & Spencer to recover a significant proportion of the substantial losses caused by its summary termination of manufacturing and supply arrangements.
"The Court of Appeal has, however, accepted the Marks & Spencer argument that it is free to walk away from a 30-year relationship without paying compensation. We will obviously be giving immediate consideration to an appeal to the House of Lords."
The Court of Appeal yesterday upheld the findings of the High Court given in June last year that William Baird's claim against M&S could not be formulated as one based on an implied contract and should not proceed to trial.
The High Court had allowed William Baird's claim based on estoppel to proceed to trial but the Court of Appeal yesterday reversed this decision.
The Court of Appeal yesterday refused leave to appeal to William Baird and M&S was awarded costs.
William Baird had claimed for substantial damages, over £50m, alleging that M&S had failed to give reasonable notice in terminating a 30-year supply relationship.
A spokesman for M&S told just-style today: "We have always maintained that there is no basis for claims. We are delighted with yesterday's outcome."
On the question of William Baird taking the case a stage further, the M&S spokesman added: "We cannot comment on the suggestion that William Baird may petition the High Court."
By Deborah Bowyer
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