Norton Rose Fulbright wins hugely significant cladding case

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has won a hugely significant cladding case on behalf of its client, Martlet Homes Limited (Martlet), in what is the first High Court judgment on a claim concerning fire safety defects in cladding on a high rise building since the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017.

Martlet is part of the Hyde Housing Group, one of the largest housing associations in England, owning or managing circa 50,000 homes in London, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, the East of England and East Midlands.

This is a significant win not only for the Hyde Group but for many UK building owners facing similar cladding issues. It will additionally hold wider implications for the construction industry as a whole, as well as the real estate and insurance sectors, as it offers much needed guidance on the court’s approach to numerous significant issues affecting the hundreds of cladding disputes ongoing in the UK today.

Martlet’s claim against Mulalley and Co Limited (Mulalley) concerned defective design and installation of cladding manufactured by Sto Ltd, which was installed by Mulalley at four high rise residential towers in Portsmouth.

Despite Mulalley’s wholesale denial of liability for Martlet’s losses, High Court judge HHJ Stephen Davies held that Martlet had succeeded on both its primary and alternative cases, and awarded Martlet substantial damages for the remedial works it undertook to address the defects in the cladding system.

The judge additionally awarded Martlet damages for the substantial costs of the waking watch service implemented by Martlet as a temporary mitigation measure for the risks posed by the cladding pending its removal.

Simon Ramsden, partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, said: “We’re extremely proud of the role our team played in delivering this outcome on behalf of the Hyde Group, which we hope will promote the resolution of the many cladding related disputes thanks to the court’s guidance delivered today.”

The Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by partner Simon Ramsden and counsel Amy Armitage, with support from associate Sarah Gosling and solicitor apprentice Jake Burke.