Sports Direct's Committal Application an Abuse

Peter Smith J has handed down his reasons for dismissing Sports Direct International PLC’s application for committal against Rangers International Football Club PLC  and its Chairman Dave King: [2016] EWHC 85 (Ch). The application was heard on 10 December 2015 on which date the Judge did not call upon the Respondent’s counsel. He indicated that the application would be dismissed and proceeded to give directions for a speedy trial (now fixed for 8 February 2016).

The Judge dismissed the application on a number of bases, including that it was an abuse of the process given the technical nature of the breaches alleged and the unchallenged evidence of Mr King that the application was part of a vendetta against him by Mike Ashley. The Judge also ruled that the breaches were not properly particularised in the Notice of Application, that no good reason existed to retrospectively waive the need for personal service on the Respondents and that as Sports Direct had not sought to cross-examine Mr King there was no proper basis upon which he could find that there had in fact been any breaches.

The Judge awarded indemnity costs against Sports Direct and ordered that it pay £70,000 on account in 14 days.

William Mccormick QC and Ali Reza Sinai, instructed by Ryan Mowatt of Kingsley Napley LLP represented RIFC and Mr King.