Former Sunderland AFC chairman loses court case

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Sir Bob Murray, who made his fortune in the home-kitchen manufacturing industry, took action against Camerons in a dispute over the build price for his new house, L’Orangerie, on Route Orange.

But he lost, with the Royal Court ruling that a final contract price was ‘never fixed’. Sir Bob was ordered to pay the firm £337,333.

In a judgment published in September 2020, at an earlier stage of the dispute, the court said Camerons had enlisted RNJ quantity surveyors to value the works, which they estimated would cost £5,548,172, excluding GST.

Sir Bob said he entered into an agreement with Camerons through a letter of intent which signalled that both parties were entering a formal agreement. Work began in 2014 but a judgment said that no construction contract was produced.

In August 2015 Sir Bob said he became alarmed over the cost of the project and warned Marc Burton, the firm’s director, that if he was not able to provide a better price, he would terminate the contract.

Quotes ranging between £7.99 million and £8.27 million were provided but these were not accepted by Sir Bob who terminated the contract in February 2016. He launched an action against Camerons seeking ‘losses, defective works and other costs’.

Responding at the time, the firm said the letter of intent referred to receiving ‘all
direct and actual costs properly incurred’ and lodged a
counter claim against the homeowner.

A judgment published by the Royal Court this month said: ‘Various documents to which we have been taken illustrate a process by which the final contract price was being identified but was never, in fact, finalised.

‘In any event, in our judgment and as we have said, the price was evolving and was never fixed.’

In a statement issued this week, Sir Bob said he was considering appealing against the ‘extremely disappointing’ decision.

Camerons declined to comment.

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