Who's suing who

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ARTHUR SCARGILL, President of the National Union of Miners (NUM), has issued a summons against the Charity Commissioners and the Attorney General in his appeal against his suspension as a trustee of two miners' charities.

Mr Scargill was suspended by the Charity Commission last June from being a trustee of "The Yorkshire Miners' Welfare Trust Fund Scheme" and "The Yorkshire Miners' Welfare Convalescent Homes". The miners' leader was also suspended from being chairman of the Homes charity.

In March this year John Morris, QC, the Attorney General, got the backing of the High Court for a scheme to regulate the affairs of the two charities. Mr Scargill's appeal against his suspension is due to reach court this June.

The Charity Commission took its action last year against Mr Scargill over the allegedly inappropriate transfer of pounds 800,000 to the homes fund from the welfare fund. There are no suggestions that Mr Scargill or anyone else has been involved in any impropriety, but that certain procedures had not been followed.

Mr Scargill and a fellow trustee Frank Cave lodged their appeal this week, claiming in their writ: "There has been no misconduct or mismanagement by the plaintiffs in the administration of either charity."

The writ continues: "It has not been shown that the suspension of the First Plaintiff [Mr Scargill] and subsequent removal of both plaintiffs is or was necessary or desirable for the purpose of protecting the property of either charity."

The writ says that if any misconduct or mismanagement in the running of either charity has taken place, it has not been shown that this has resulted from "any act or omission on the part of the plaintiffs."

The duo also say that it has not been shown by the Charity Commissioners that the pair acted contrary to "the minuted resolutions or intentions of the trustees of either charity."

The pair add that they have not "by virtue of their membership of the National Union of Mineworkers or the National Union of Mineworkers (Yorkshire Area), placed or allowed themselves to remain in a position of conflict as trustees".

The writ, issued on behalf of Mr Scargill and Mr Cave by City solicitors Bates Wells & Braithwaite, concludes: "The Charity Commissioners have failed, despite repeated requests from the first plaintiff and the plaintiffs' solicitors, to disclose the substance of all the allegations made against the plaintiffs, in such a form, and in such a way, that he may answer all of them fully."

THE BBC has issued an originating summons against a bust property company in an attempt to obtain a new five-year tenancy agreement over the broadcaster's offices in Great Portland Street, London, which are owned by the company.

The offices are at Yalding House, 152/156 Great Portland Street and are owned by Borodin Properties, a company in receivership.

In practical terms the receivers Coopers & Lybrand control Borodin, on behalf of the company's creditors.

The BBC originally had a tenancy agreement with Borodin for three years, dating from 6 August 1995. The broadcaster is applying for a new five- year tenancy starting from 12 December 1998, at a rent of pounds 300,000 a year.

Coopers & Lybrand did not comment.

TWO councils in Kent are heading for a court battle over a proposed shopping development.

Shepway District Council has been granted leave to seek a judicial review of Ashford Council's treatment of a major development site at Ashford.

Shepway Council claims that outline planning consents granted over the site did not provide for a proposed factory outlet centre. QCs involved in the case include William Hicks, Malcolm Spence, Timothy Straker and Michael Fitzgerald.

THE OWNER of a new shopping centre in Guildford has launched a major claim for damages over alleged structural defects against the designers and builders of the development.

Specifically, the owners of the White Lion Walk centre are suing over the design of the atrium roof.

Britel Fund Trustees is suing White Lion Walk and Tarmac, both of Wolverhampton, and Crampin and Pring of Nottingham. Britel is seeking damages for an alleged breach of an agreement dated 6 April 1984, negligence and making negligent misstatements between 1985 and 1987 in respect of the design, the development and the roof at the shopping centre.