Proceedings against an Allen & Overy partner that relate to an NDA agreement he helped negotiate on behalf of Harvey Weinstein have been scrapped.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has permanently stayed proceedings against Mark Mansell because he is suffering from ill-health.
Medical experts on both sides agreed the continuation of proceedings, and in particular a trial, represented a significant risk to Mansell’s life.
The SDT declined to dismiss the case entirely, instead choosing to pause proceedings, but the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) opposed the proceedings pause.
The regulator felt the public interest in the determination of the disciplinary allegation was strong. Nevertheless the SDT concluded a fair trial was not possible and stayed proceedings.
As the proceedings are permanently stayed, they are effectively scrapped.
Mansell, who is a partner at magic circle firm Allen & Overy, at the time represented Weinstein and his production company Miramax.
In 1998, Zelda Perkins, who worked at Miramax, and one other woman who alleged she had been sexually assaulted by the disgraced film producer, settled a claim for £250,000 and signed an NDA. Perkins has alleged that they were pressured into signing.
In the SRA’s view Mansell was guilty of misconduct because the settlement agreement purported to restrict the complainants’ ability to report the alleged crime to the police, co-operate fully with criminal proceedings and obtain medical treatment – which is illegal.
Mansell has argued that the agreement did not prevent a report to the police, co-operation with criminal proceedings or the obtaining of medical treatment.
In a statement Mansell’s legal representatives Russell Cooke said Mansell is “a senior and highly respected solicitor with an unblemished 30-year professional career.”
Russell Cooke said Mansell had represented Miramax and Weinstein more than 20 years ago, when there were no wider allegations against the disgraced film producer.
“Our client is and remains of the view that the proceedings are misconceived and should never have been brought,” the statement continued, adding that the principles of the settlement deal were agreed before his involvement and that he was brought in simply to document it, on the basis that the allegations were untrue.
Russell Cook added Mansell had been given proper reasons why confidentiality had already been agreed as a component.
Allen & Overy declined to comment. The SDT would not comment on the specific case.