Baines Wilson recently assisted Threlkeld Cricket Club in reaching a very satisfactory settlement to the Club’s litigation with Cumbria County Council and its insurers relating to the flooding incident which devastated the Club’s uniquely scenic ground in June 2012.
The flooding incident was caused as part of a culvert adjacent to the Threlkeld ground owned by Cumbria County Council had been filled in with gravel and other debris. During a period of heavy rain in June 2012 the culvert overflowed, resulting in debris covering the Club’s pitch and causing immense and irreparable damage to the new cricketing square which had only recently been installed.
The Club got in touch with John Wilson at an early stage to see if anything could be done about the devastation. John, together with representatives of the Club, attempted to amicably resolve the dispute with Cumbria County Council. Unfortunately matters became protracted but in the meantime John and Richard Allen and Martin Webster from the Club negotiated a way forward with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) which allowed funding of a new development to take place, enabling the Club to return to playing in 2014.
The Club also hit the national and international headlines by producing a calendar showing team members playing cricket in extreme locations including underwater and on a frozen tarn. The calendar was produced with the help of local photographer Stuart Holmes and raised thousands of pounds, enabling the Club to part fund the redevelopment of the ground.
Whilst the club was, thankfully, back playing cricket at their home, matters were not resolved amicably with Cumbria County Council and its insurers, requiring legal proceedings to be issued. Those proceedings have now been settled and a significant and satisfactory payment plus legal costs has been made by Cumbria County Council to Threlkeld Cricket Club allowing the Club to now repay a significant amount to the ECB charitable trust.
John Wilson from Baines Wilson LLP said:-
‘The club found itself in a very difficult position. It was unfortunate we were not able to resolve matters amicably with Cumbria County Council. We were very close but unfortunately we had to issue proceedings. Those proceedings have now been settled on terms which I think are fair and reasonable representing a very good result for the cricket club.
We were very pleased to have still been able to help the club and did so originally on a pro bono basis. We’ve been able to recover most of our costs that we incurred after proceedings were issued but the costs we incurred prior to issuing were irrecoverable. They ran to around a five figure sum but represent a commitment we were happy to make.’
John handed the matter over to Kath Sibley in our Dispute Resolution and Litigation team. Kath and in house barrister Nigel Gowling negotiated the final settlement.
Kath Sibley added:-
‘This is quite an unusual case. Clearly the club had been devastated by the flooding incident and it was unfortunate that settlement couldn’t be reached amicably. As Commercial Litigators we are not always involved in ‘human interest’ stories; however, this case is certainly one that captured the imagination of us all and we are really pleased to have reached such a good result from the Club’s, and indeed the wider Threlkeld community’s, perspective.’
Richard Allen, Chair of Threlkeld Cricket Club added:-
‘Without the generosity of the ECB and the legal guidance from John Wilson and Katherine Sibley of Baines Wilson I doubt whether Threlkeld Cricket Club would be here today. Their contribution was huge. We at Threlkeld Cricket Club are most grateful.”
Threlkeld Cricket Club has been back playing cricket at its home ground since the spring/summer of 2014 and this settlement will allow the Club to continue to go from strength to strength. Baines Wilson held their annual staff Summer barbeque at the Club, where an enjoyable day was had by all.