Aim 4 Long Grass
February 13, 2015
EXPEDITED TRIAL IN THE BRISTOL ROVERS v SAINSBURY’S LITIGATION
On Monday 9th February 2015 at a contested hearing in the Chancery Division Mr Justice Roth ordered that a claim for breach of contract brought by Bristol Rovers football club against Sainsbury’s Supermarkets should be expedited on the basis that the claim had an objective urgency which justified it “jumping the queue”. The expedited trial will take place in mid-May of this year.
In 2011 Bristol Rovers contracted to sell Sainsbury’s the site of their football stadium for a superstore-led mixed use redevelopment. It was envisaged that the funds from the sale – some £30 million – would enable the club to construct a new state-of-the-art stadium on the campus of the University of the West of England.
Bristol Rovers claims that, in breach of the contract, Sainsbury’s failed to use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that a satisfactory planning permission for the proposed superstore was granted and acted in bad faith in respect of their contractual obligations towards the club. As a result it seems clear that the delivery of the new stadium will be a significantly more complex and expensive enterprise than had originally been anticipated.
The judge also ordered Sainsbury’s to undertake an onerous disclosure exercise which, he ruled, must be completed within the next 7 weeks. Sainsbury’s had argued that the exercise could not be accomplished within less than 3 months and indicated that they would not be ready for trial before 2016.
Not suprisingly the case has already generated significant public interest. The Bristol Post reported on Monday’s hearing here: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Key-hearing-pushed-forward-Bristol-Rovers-plans/story-25997409-detail/story.html
David Matthias Q.C. and George Mackenzie appeared for Bristol Rovers and were instructed directly by Jim Tarzey of Pegasus Planning. They were assisted by Burges Salmon who are also instructed on behalf of Bristol Rovers.