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Counting the cost of Dauriac v Caudwell

Counting the cost of Dauriac v Caudwell

The High Court battle between Signia Wealth co-founder and ex-CEO Nathalie Dauriac and Phones 4U founder John Caudwell may have ended with the latter claiming victory, despite the £500,000 he has to pay out, but there are still things to consider, such as who is really the winner of this whole ordeal?

It all started in June 2015 when Dauriac took Signia to an employment tribunal, saying that Caudwell had made false allegations against her relating to £33,640 in expense claims, pushing her out of the business.

That case was put on hold as Signia took her to the High Court instead, claiming that she falsified her expense claims.

The whole saga, which lasted several years, provided insight into how ugly such fights can truly get. Now that all is said and done, does either side really feel like a winner? I doubt it.

How could they, having all this dirty laundry aired in public? They will now have to think about where they go from here and count the costs of their court room drama.

The financial costs are understandably high, with both sides hiring high profile QCs. Although the final issue of costs is still to be resolved, a case management hearing from July 2016 shows that although Dauriac is receiving around £500,000, she has and will be paying out a lot more.

At the time, even the judge highlighted that the expected total cost of £4.14 million ‘is an expensive piece of litigation’.

Since the start, to July 2016, Dauriac had already incurred costs of £776,000. This was forecast to increase to over £1 million during the course of the trial. The actual figure is unknown, but clearly much more than the £500,000 she is due to receive from Caudwell.

Meanwhile, Signia’s budget showed that in preparation for the trial, it had already spent £967,000, with this forecast to go up to £2.34 million.

These are not small amounts and while Caudwell is considered to be a tycoon who can afford such expensive litigation – his net worth is £1.8 billion, according to Forbes – I do not think Dauriac’s personal wealth comes close.

On the sidelines of this case, she also spent her time over the last two years setting up new venture Hay Hill Wealth Management, backed by ex-Tory treasurer Lord Stanley Fink.

With reputations and significant sums on the line, tell me this … was the court battle ultimately worth it? 

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