There are occasional moments, when I have had my last mug of tea for the day (Vanilla Earl Grey, if you’re putting the kettle on thank you) and I think if I should write a blog post for the next morning. Has anything happened which justifies me looking at the legalities of some situation?
On those occasions I can generally depend on one particular football team to be involved in something which has a legal aspect to it.
People ask me why I keep writing about Rangers – is it an obsession?
The short answer is that there has been no other entity in Scotland which has been involved in so many different aspects of the law over the last two years.
Tax, company law, insolvency, family law, damages claims, breach of contract, employment law, defamation, privilege, Data Protection, breach of confidence … you name it, and it has been there.
And there have been so many events and disputes that you can always rely on there being news of something concluding, or having a loose end dealt with, or flaring up again.
Last night saw one of those perfect examples.
The BBC’s Chris McLaughlin reported as follows:-
Rangers are facing a legal bill after a panel judged they should pay the expenses of five former players they were in contract disputes with.
Sone Aluko, Kyle Lafferty, Steven Naismith, Jamie Ness and Allan McGregor all quit the club when it was placed into liquidation last year.
The players refused to transfer their contracts from the old company to the new one, which the club challenged.
The panel says Rangers should pay all legal bills relating to the dispute.
The panel was established and facilitated under the Scottish Football Association’s Articles of Association after agreement was reached by the club and the players over who should represent each side of the dispute, with a chair appointed to review both side’s claims.
You will recall that this was the process which was going to find Rangers entitled to many millions of pounds in compensation for the players “breaching their contracts” by refusing to join newco. Mr Green had been very aggressive, as is his style, and had blustered proudly when an initial procedural hearing went his way.
However, at the end of January, the substantive cases were thrown out.
Now the Panel which looked at matters has ordered that newco pays the legal costs of the players named.
Bearing in mind that over two months have passed since the hearings, this suggests that we might still have to wait a few weeks until Lord Nimmo Smith and his colleagues decide who should pay the costs of the SPL Independent Commission.
As far as the players go, there are none of the issues about newco v oldco regarding who pays up. It was newco which challenged the players’ right to leave. Newco lost.
I suspect that the five players will have legal bills running to many thousands of pounds. It is not impossible that, when combined with their own costs, the challenges will cost Rangers (newco) well into six figures.
On the other hand, that is a small sum to gamble where there is a chance of generating millions of successful!
Mr Green did talk about challenging the decision, but nothing further has come from him yet regarding this. Will he be happy to pay the lawyers involved? (Probably not – no one likes paying lawyers!)
On the other hand the whole Rangers saga has been, almost single-handedly, responsible for saving the Scottish legal profession from penury!
And, looking at the remarkable Sun interview with Mr Green this morning, wherein we see the return of Craig Whyte and Aidan Earley, one suspects more cash will be heading to the legal profession!
And I suspect that Mr Green’s comments might provoke a couple of blog posts from me as well!
Posted by Paul McConville