After an 8 day trial at which they represented the Defendant landlord, Gary Love, Romie Tager QC and Alex Goold have successfully defeated a claim brought by the well-known chef and television presenter, Gordon Ramsay, that he was not bound by a personal guarantee for the rent of his hotel and restaurant, The York & Albany.
In his judgment Mr Justice Morgan held that Mr Ramsay, acting through his agent, his father-in-law Chris Hutcheson, was bound by the personal guarantee in the lease of the premises. When Mr Hutcheson committed Mr Ramsay to the guarantee, he was acting within a wide general authority conferred on him by Mr Ramsay at all times prior to his dismissal.
Mr Ramsay’s own evidence under cross-examination had established the very extensive, if not total, trust which Mr Ramsay had placed in Mr Hutcheson to deal with business affairs on behalf of both the companies and Mr Ramsay himself, giving him a wide general authority at the outset of their relationship and instructing him to offer his personal guarantee in relation to a lease when the business required it. His authority included using a signature writing machine called a Ghostwriter to sign personal legal documents in his name.
Despite his evidence to the contrary, Morgan J found that Mr Ramsay knew, long before the lease of the premises, that the Ghostwriter, was routinely used to sign legal documents in his name. The Judge found his evidence that he thought the machine was only being used to sign books which were not being sold in bookshops, “entirely implausible”.