Legal

Kingsley Napley wins claim for unpaid fees from property developer


A wealthy international businessman must pay Kingsley Napley £14,146.37 plus interest in unpaid fees after a judge threw out a counter claim for negligence against the London firm. In an excoriating judgment handed down today, His Honour Judge Richard Roberts found defendant Simon Halabi to be lacking in credibility. 

Kingsley Napley sued Halabi for unpaid fees after it was retained to help him cancel an offender notification order. Halabi, who was an original developer of London’s Shard skyscraper, counter-sued for alleged negligence, which the firm denied.

Sandra Paul

Halabi, now 64, was convicted of rape and possession of class A drugs in France in 1998 under a different first name. However when applying for a UK firearms licence and entry to the US he claimed to have no convictions. The Metropolitan Police learned of his conviction after being notified by the French authorities and applied for a notification order in 2017. The order would impose restrictions on Halabi, including notifying police whenever he travelled.

The order was granted by magistrates and confirmed at Southwark Crown Court following an appeal.

Ruling in the County Court at Central London today, Roberts said Halabi’s refusal at one point in proceedings to answer questions showed his ‘total failure of respect for the legal system, and his desire always to get his own way’.

The court previously heard that Halabi – described as ‘legally-sophisticated, powerful and used to getting what he wants’ in Robert’s judgment – often travelled between the US and the UK and had not disclosed convictions. He claimed that as a British citizen he did not think he had to disclose French convictions.

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Roberts said: ‘I find that the defendant’s dishonesty in deceiving both the UK and the US authorities over many years is aggravated yet further by him lying about this in the present claim, and this severely damages his credibility.’

On the evidence of Kingsley Napley’s Sandra Paul, who was Halabi’s instructed solicitor, Roberts said: ‘I found Ms Paul to be a careful, thoughtful witness and reliable. When she did not know something, she said so. Her evidence was almost entirely consistent with the internal documentation, including the attendance notes of meetings with the defendant.’

Ruling that Kingsley Napley’s bill was ‘within a reasonable range’ of the estimate, he said: ‘I conclude by finding that the allegation in respect of the [Kingsley Napley] costs estimate was wholly misconceived and is another example of the defendant taking points which have no merit, and only abandoning them when they have been exploded.’

He dismissed Halabi’s counter claim for negligence.



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