Private wealth firm successfully represents one of the former trustees
LONDON — Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP (MTG), a boutique private wealth law firm, today welcomed Mrs Justice Falk’s judgment handed down for the Kids Company 10 week trial in favour of the defendants; seven of the former charity trustees and CEO Camila Batmanghelidjh. The unusual hybrid format trial (in court and online) ran from October to December 2020 and is likely to have been the longest civil trial since the pandemic.
Jennifer Emms, MTG Partner Elect who led the legal team, said: “Of course there will be enormous relief from the defendants and other charities, that after a careful and detailed 10 week trial, the judgment gives a clear ruling on the single point about the sustainability of the charity’s business model.
“There was never any allegation of dishonesty; or inappropriate spending or behaviour towards any beneficiaries. For this reason one might question if it was appropriate for such an onerous case to be brought in the first place against volunteer trustees who acted for the charity in their spare time and were entirely unpaid. Running a charity is not easy. The trustees of this charity, like many others, had to make difficult decisions. Thankfully, the judge could see that the trustees brought a wealth of experience and good judgment to the board and acted reasonably throughout”.
Clare Maurice, MTG Senior Partner, said: “I have worked with private clients from all over the globe solving complex issues. Knowing the financial costs and emotional stress involved in trials, we actively work to avoid courtrooms as much as possible. This case representing Vince will be one of the most memorable for me as it raises long term issues for the charity and corporate sectors on director, trustee and boardroom behaviour and the ultimate liability that may come with those responsibilities. I suspect there will be much reflection in the charity sector and trustees would be right on insisting that their liabilities are part of that review.”
Emms led the MTG team with Maurice and litigation and charities associate, Rosalind Hetherington.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP is a boutique private client law firm based in London with a global clientele. The top tier firm has been oﬀering its services since 1 May 2009 following the demerger of Allen & Overy LLP’s highly rated Private Client Department. The firm has recently won the British Legal Awards 2020 and been included in the Times Best Law Firms 2021. MTG has particular experience of all the issues which aﬀect wealthy individuals (and their families and trustees) and professional practices in the UK and elsewhere. This includes in depth experience of philanthropy, setting up new charities and providing ongoing advice, and charity disputes (both internal and external). The firm is described as “uniformly excellent” and is ranked in the top tiers in both Chambers (UK and High Net Worth Guides) and The Legal 500 for its private wealth expertise. Its disputes team was named Contentious Trusts and Estates Team of the Year by the Chambers HNW 2019 Awards. Jennifer Emms is listed as a Rising Star in the Charities and Not-for-profit sector in the 2021 Legal 500 directory.