Rosenblatt helps secure judgment for Stobart Group in dispute with former director

15th February 2019

Rosenblatt helps secure judgment for Stobart Group in dispute with former director

Rosenblatt, the professional legal services company, which includes one of the UK’s leading dispute resolution practices has helped secure a judgment for its client, Stobart Group Limited (“Stobart” or “the Company”). The judgment resulted from Stobart’s recent High Court dispute with its former director, Andrew Tinkler.  Stobart is an Aviation, Energy and Civil Engineering company, which owns and operates London Southend Airport.

The dispute arose following the dismissal of Mr Tinkler in June 2018 for acting in breach of his fiduciary and contractual duties to Stobart. Mr Tinkler’s breaches included speaking to the Company’s significant shareholders, criticising the Board’s management, and agitating for the removal of its Chairman Iain Ferguson.

The judgment of His Honour Judge Russen QC handed down today addressed points of law of directors’ duties (in the context of a dissenting director briefing against the board), employment law and the law of unlawful means conspiracy.  The Judge found that Mr Tinkler had breached his fiduciary and contractual duties to the Company. He concluded that Mr Tinkler had been validly removed from the Board and dismissed as an employee of the Company in June 2018 when his attempted boardroom coup failed.

The judgment raises a key issue for the governance of companies. If a dissenting director feels sufficiently strong about a board’s proposed course of action, having failed to persuade the other directors of their view, then they should resign.  It is not acceptable, in the Judge’s opinion, for a director to begin a campaign of briefing against the board while remaining on it.  If a disgruntled director resigns, they relieve themselves from their obligations to the board and responsibilities to that collective decision-making body.  This leaves them free to discuss their concerns about a company’s strategy and direction with shareholders.

Ian Rosenblatt, Senior Partner, Rosenblatt, said: “UK Boardrooms need to be a place where there can be robust debates about the strategy and management of the business. However, to protect the interests of all shareholders and ensure the Company can operate effectively, the Board needs to come to a consensus.  As today’s judgment makes clear, it is not acceptable for one dissenting director to try to destabilise the company while remaining a Board member. I am pleased we were able to help Stobart secure this judgment and allow the team to get on with the successful running of the business.”


The judgment followed a two-week trial which was heard on an expedited based in November 2018.  The Rosenblatt team was led by Senior Partner, Ian Rosenblatt, Partners, Anthony Field and Simon Walton, assisted by Lucy Hamilton-James, Nick Leigh, Luther Kisanga and Sajjid Kurmani.  Rosenblatt instructed Richard Leiper QC and Daniel Isenberg.






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About Rosenblatt Group plc

Rosenblatt Group plc is a professional legal services company, which includes one of the UK’s leading dispute resolution practices. It provides a range of legal services to its diversified client base, which includes companies, banks, entrepreneurs and individuals. Complementing this is the Group’s increasingly international footprint, advising on complex cross-jurisdictional cases in China, Israel, America and India. Rosenblatt’s practice areas include dispute resolution, corporate, banking and finance, insolvency and financial restructuring, construction and projects, employment, financial services, IP/technology/media, real estate, regulatory and tax resolution.