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From our newest litigator, Chris Dalby...
"You may recently have read about a case where a Euromillions winner was sued by his own son.
Dave and Angie Dawes, winners of a £101 million jackpot in October 2011, gave £1.6 million to Dave’s son, Michael (they also gave £1 million+ amounts to twenty of their friends). Michael burnt through £1 million in a month, including giving more than £250,000 to various friends, and within two years almost all of it was gone. Having squandered his nest egg, Michael sued Dave and Angie, claiming that they had promised to fund his lifestyle, and that they should be required to do so as and when required. Judge Nigel Gerald threw the case out, on the basis that Dave and Angie were not obliged to continue to fund their “profligate” son in perpetuity, and compared Michael to Walter Mitty.
What this proves - other than the fact that I clearly need better friends – is that a case doesn’t necessarily have to have any sort of merit in order to be advanced. It is very easy to scoff and talk about coffee being too hot and the world having gone mad, but the right to access to justice for all will inevitably include the odd ridiculous claim. I am sure that none of us would want a process where claims have to be vetted by some sort of committee before they can be advanced (although I’d certainly apply for that committee if it existed), and whilst it may be a fairly blunt tool, the standard costs position (i.e. the winner pays the costs of the loser) should act as a deterrent for spurious claims, as can the opportunity to apply for a case to be struck out, if it is not properly pleaded or offers no arguable case or defence.
In the meantime, all we can do is chuckle at claimants like poor Michael. On an entirely unrelated note, if any Euromillions winners are looking to expand their circles of friends, I would be very happy to hear from you."