Virgin issues writ after talks with BA collapse: Branson in court move over 'dirty tricks'

RICHARD BRANSON'S Virgin Atlantic yesterday launched its long-awaited legal action against British Airways over the dirty tricks affair by issuing a writ in the High Court.

The writ follows the breakdown of talks aimed at settling the dispute and alleges copyright infringement, breach of confidence and misuse of confidential information by BA.

Sir Colin Marshall, BA's chairman, and Robert Ayling, group managing director, are both expected to be subpoenaed to give evidence in court by Virgin's lawyers.

Lord King, who retired early from the BA chairmanship in the wake of the affair and took up the honorary post of president, could also be subpoenaed.

Virgin said that the proceedings related to the accessing by BA of computer details on Virgin Atlantic passengers, aircraft load factors and associated passenger and travel services. Further writs are likely to be issued in the British courts against BA relating to conspiracy and commercial tort.

In addition, an anti-trust case will be launched against BA in the United States, probably in the next four to five weeks. In anti-trust actions, judges can award triple damages.

Mr Branson had been threatening to take further legal action against BA since he was awarded pounds 610,000 libel damages and given an unreserved apology in the High Court in January.

Protracted talks to settle the dispute collapsed in March after Mr Branson refused to accept a pounds 9m compensation payment from BA, claiming that the terms of the settlement would have prevented him from referring to the dirty tricks case in future.

The catalyst for yesterday's writ appears to have been a statement in last week's BA News, the airline's weekly staff newspaper, defending the integrity of Sir Colin and Mr Ayling against fresh allegations and challenging Mr Branson to state any claims he might have 'in the appropriate courts'. Last night BA said: 'BA has made it clear that any liability that it may have will be met in full and regrets that Virgin discontinued the settlement discussions.'

The case it could last for anything between three months and three years. Even if the UK action is settled quickly, the anti-trust case in the US is likely to drag on longer.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Analyst - ALM Data - Banking - Halifax

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Analyst, ALM Data, Halifax, ...

Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/day

£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/d...

Liquidity Reporting-Basel III-LCR-Bank-£400/day

£400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Liquidity Reporting - Basel III - LCR - Ba...

Investment Manager – Media and Entertainment

Up to £50,000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Sauce Recruitment: We are repre...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz