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Multiplex to pocket £20m after court win

Multiplex is looking to recoup up to £20 million from Cleveland Bridge after it won a major victory in the High Court this week against its former Wembley Stadium steel work contractor.

Monday's ruling by Mr Justice Jackson is set to pave the way for more action by the Australian builder as it looks to make inroads into the £200 million it has blown on the north London project.

The firm's UK boss, Martin Tidd, confirmed to Construction News that it is looking to recover millions from client Wembley National Stadium and the designer on the job, Mott Stadium Consortium. He said: 'We believe we have a significant entitlement with our client and there are conversations to be had with our consultants.'

Steel firm Cleveland Bridge was refused leave to appeal the decision by Mr Justice Jackson on Tuesday and has been told to pay 80 per cent of Multiplex's court costs, which are more than £2.5 million. Cleveland's own court costs are believed to be around £3 million.

The firm has 21 days to write to the Court of Appeal asking for leave to appeal. A spokeswoman said: 'We are considering this option.'

Cleveland's liabilities have been capped at £6 million but it also faces shelling out £5 million for work Multiplex says it was forced to correct once the steel firm left the site in August 2004. Multiplex is also hoping to recover a further unspecified amount in damages.

If Multiplex and CBUK cannot agree a deal the case will go back to court next year for a damages hearing.

Mr Tidd added: 'It's regrettable we had to get to this point and we'd like to reach a sensible commercial settlement with CBUK over the summer.

'We're no longer in legal dispute with any trade contractors in the UK and it's not our style to pursue all other trade contractors on this job. The truth has come out and hopefully people will start to see us in a different light.'

In his decision, Mr Justice Jackson said Cleveland unlawfully walked off the job

and that a valuation of £32.66 million Cleveland claimed Multiplex had agreed for work carried out up to February 2004 was not a final decision.

Cleveland said the £32.66 million was the basis for a supplemental agreement the pair struck in June 2004. Under this, Multiplex issued a £14 million negative valuation - a certificate saying it had overpaid Cleveland - the next month.

By David Rogers