YESTERDAY saw sighs of contentment all round at inter-dealer broker Tullett Prebon, as judge Justice Jack ruled in its favour after almost a year of wrangling with rival BGC about a staff poaching operation. Though of course, after seven months of advisory work and a trial lasting the best part of four months, it’s the lawyers who’ll really walk away from the whole affair with a smile on their faces.

No less than nine barristers graced the courtroom over the 45 days on which the court sat, instructed by four separate firms of solicitors.

Jeffery Onions QC and barrister Daniel Oudkerk stepped out for Tullett, instructed by Rosenblatt Solicitors partner and dispute resolution specialist Clive Hyer.

Over on the other side, BGC started out with Littleton Chambers silk Andrew Clarke QC, but changed its representation shortly after the commencement of the trial, when Clarke fell ill. It continued with Andrew Hochhauser QC and Jonathan Cohen, instructed by McDermott Will & Emery; while barristers Stuart Ritchie and Christopher Newman and solicitors Russell Jones & Walker represented Tony Verrier and Selwyn Block QC. Jeremy Lewis and law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner took the case for the rest of the broker defendants.

Phew. Legal experts in the know are already estimating that the fees have racked up to several millions – and many say the eventual total could hit over £10m if the dispute over the level of damages also gets nasty.

A bonus bonanza for the lucky legal eagles, for sure.

To the Penfolds Vintage Years networking event at the Hospital Club last night to hear a rousing spiel from Phones4U founder John Caudwell, tasked with revealing his tips for getting to the top to an audience of businesspeople and eager entrepreneurs.

“I’m here because they reckon I’m a bit like vintage wine,” Caudwell told The Capitalist. “Which, as we all know, do go past their sell-by date, which is why I sold the company when I did…”

At £1.64bn, the sale was certainly a vintage one – though Caudwell’s obviously a thrifty one with his money, since he was hoping to score a freebie out of the event.

“I’m hoping, if my speech is good enough, that Penfolds is going to offer me a case of Grange from my birth year, 1952, as a gift,” he mused.

It would certainly be a generous one – the 1952, the very first Grange vintage, is currently retailing at around £22,000 a bottle…

City workers who fancy themselves as a budding challenger to Tiger Woods (on the golf course, not in the bedroom, for all the naughty lotharios out there), listen up.

On Monday, golf travel company is hosting a competition at the City Limits outdoor driving range, just a stone’s throw from Liverpool station. The firm tells me it is charging just a tenner for entry to the competition – which could net you a cool £1m prize.

Apparently, golfers will have to sink a 100-foot putt on a specially prepared green from three strokes to progress to the Grand Final, to be staged on the Friday of the Ryder Cup – when they will return to have one putt to win the covetable cash prize.

Sounds like a worthy little flutter if ever there was one.

It was handbags at dawn between arch-enemies Lord Mandelson and Ken Clarke yesterday, as the pair squared up to each other at a catty debate at the British Chambers of Commerce 2010 annual conference.

The two began sniping at each other from the start, when business secretary Mandy ran over on his five-minute opening speech and his shadow counterpart began impatiently tapping his watch.

They continued to glower at each other throughout the rest of the debate, bringing things to a head when Mandy quipped: “Ken keeps on reminding us what an excellent chancellor he was but Ken, you’re living and trading on your past.”

Without batting an eyelid, Clarke was at his rival’s neck. “At least I have a past on which I can trade,” he retorted, drily.

A tickled Canary Wharf insider emails in response to The Capitalist’s story from earlier in the week, when a keen-eyed observer overlooking the Finsbury Square Crossrail building site spotted one worker plugging away at the pavilion with a humble spade.

“I can confirm that at least the Canary Wharf Crossrail station is on time and budget,” he informs me. “We’ve just about finished pumping the water out of the worksite in North Dock and we’ve exposed the first pile driven into the dock by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Lord Adonis last May.

“Also, if any of your readers are worried about the fish and bird life in the drained dock, we’re employing a specialist contractor to relocate them and make sure no animals are harmed in the process of building the new Crossrail station.”

That should set the minds of a good few ecologically-concerned City types to rest.