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Mishcon de Reya successfully defends £4 million claim brought by a former employee against Canaccord Genuity Limited

Posted on 18 May 2022

Mishcon de Reya advised Canaccord Genuity Limited (part of a global investment banking group) on claims brought by Mr Colin Christie, a former employee who left the bank in 2016.

Mr Christie brought claims for bonus payments in respect of 2015 and 2016. He alleged that he had been promised a retention award of £1 million of Canaccord shares in summer 2015.

Mishcon de Reya's Employment team applied to strike out all of Mr Christie's claims. The application was successful in respect of Mr Christie's bonus claims (which related to discretionary bonuses) on the grounds that they had no reasonable prospect of success. Whilst the Judge recognised the retention award claim had significant obstacles, he did not feel he could strike it out, primarily because the case turned on a number of conversations between Mr Christie and Canaccord's management and so witness evidence would be highly relevant.

The full trial was before Carr J in January 2022. In his judgment dismissing Mr Christie's claim, the Judge noted that Canaccord had "robustly" rejected all aspects of the claim in its defence. The Judge decided that the conversations with Mr Christie were no more than a promise of "jam tomorrow" and therefore fell short of a binding contractual promise.

The judgment can be read in full here.

Employment Partner Greg Campbell led the Mishcon de Reya team with support from Rob Lewis and Molly Flood. Mishcon de Reya instructed Tom Croxford QC from Blackstone Chambers.

Greg Campbell commented: "It has been a pleasure advising Canaccord. Having acted on several of the leading bonus cases in the financial services sector over the past 10 years, the deep experience of the Mishcon de Reya team helped us deliver the right outcome for our client."

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