McKillen at end of £20m legal struggle
Court denies developer leave to appeal against judgment in favour of Barclay brothers
In a brief ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court in London decided to refuse permission to property developer Paddy McKillen to appeal a Court of Appeal judgment issued in September. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Property developer Paddy McKillen has lost the final stage in his £20 million court battle in London against the billionaire Barclay brothers for control of three of the city’s finest luxury hotels, it has emerged.
In a brief ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court in London decided to refuse permission to the Belfast-born businessman to appeal a Court of Appeal judgment issued in September.
Permission was refused “because the application does not raise a point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by the Supreme Court at this time bearing in mind that the case has already been the subject of judicial decision and reviewed on appeal”.
Last night a spokesman for Mr McKillen said: “Quite honestly we are amazed and disappointed . . . we are following other legal options open to us.”
He has been involved in a
However, he lost in the High Court in 2012 and this ruling is the final blow.
In September the Court of Appeal ruled that transfer of control of shares held by financier Derek Quinlan to the Barclays did not breach pre-emption rules in a shareholders’ agreement set up when the hotels were bought in 2004.
Mr McKillen has long argued that the Quinlan shareholding should have been divided proportionally between himself and Ellerman – a company controlled by the Barclays – which would have given him majority control of the hotels.
The Barclays will next month claim in court that Mr McKillen’s shares should be the subject of pre-emption rights because he is in default on loans to the now liquidated Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.
Mr McKillen has objected to this action, saying that the case should be heard in the High Court in Dublin, not in London. A hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice will decide the venue.
It is probable that Mr McKillen will launch a fresh legal campaign in the Irish High Court, arguing that Mr Quinlan should be the one forced to relinquish equity because of non-payment of debts.
‘Unnecessary distraction’ Saying that Mr McKillen should never “have taken this misguided case”, Mr Quinlan last night said: “
[His] multiple failed claims have been an unnecessary distraction for me from my task of working to deal with my debts, which have reduced by €3 billion since 2009. And they’ve been an expensive and futile exercise for Paddy McKillen who has wasted probably £20 million-plus in legal costs; funds he could have used to repay his own debts. I will continue to work on maximising the repayment of my debts.”
In September 2012 Mr McKillen was ordered to pay £6 million, with the rest subject to the taxing master who has yet to adjudicate on the bills. However, three-quarters of a bill is usually accepted.
The substantive costs hearings will be held from late January until late February in respect of the legal bills lodged by lawyers for the Barclays, while Mr Quinlan’s legal bills will be considered next March.