Venture capitalist Julie Meyer MBE is appealing the High Court’s decision to hand her a six-month suspended sentence, after she was held in Contempt of Court following a £197,000 dispute with London law firm Farrer & Co.
The appeal comes after the High Court issued a warrant for the businesswoman’s arrest, after she refused to hand over financial documents and failed to attend multiple high court hearings, in the midst of a dispute over £197,000 in legal costs with the Royal Family’s go-to firm.
At the time, Meyer claimed she had been unable to travel to the UK to attend the High Court hearings due to having conjunctivitis and not being vaccinated against Covid-19.
The venture capitalist also claimed that she was unable to comply with the High Court’s order that she hand over financial documents, as doing so would cause her to breach Swiss laws.
In seeking permission to overturn the six-month suspended sentence handed down by Mr Justice Kerr in February, Meyer put forward five separate grounds for appeal – all of which were turned out by the court as having “no prospect of success”.
However, the High Court judge later ruled that Meyer does not require permission to appeal the sentence, on the grounds that Mr Justice Kerr lacked the jurisdiction to hand it down, as Meyer claimed Farrer & Co failed to comply with procedural requirements.
Meyer’s lawyers also claimed the businesswoman had a “genuine concern” about disclosing financial documents, as she claimed Meyer “feels that she is being pursued by individuals in Switzerland and journalists in the UK,” according to the Law Society Gazette.
In response to Meyer’s arguments, Lord Justice Coulson said: “The impression is created that [Meyer] will do anything to avoid paying money… ‘If you dispute a bill, you pay what you think is due – it really is not rocket science”
Speaking to City A.M. Julie Meyer called for Farrer & Co to be “shut down” as she claimed the law firm “are in breach of the very contract they seek to enforce.”
Meyer’s dispute with Farrer & Co came after she failed to pay £197,000 in solicitors fees to Farrer & Co partner Julian Pike. Meyer previously claimed that Farrer & Co had only carried out five months of work, in arguing she should only have to pay £50,000 for their services.
The case comes after Meyer was awarded an MBE in 2012, after she was selected as one of 26 high profile businesspeople tasked with advising the UK government. In 2009, the businesswoman appeared on the BBC’s Dragon’s Den.
More recently, the venture capitalist has faced various allegations of failing to pay bills and conning investors. Meyer is also accused of having used money invested in her venture capital funds to fund her lavish lifestyle. Meyer denies all allegations and has previously claimed she always pays people their salaries.