Rugby star awarded £151k over breach of verbal contract

Former
rugby star Joel Stransky has successfully sued Bristol Rugby Club for not
honouring a verbal job offer.

Mr
Stransky, famous for his role in ensuring South Africa became Rugby World
Champions in 1995, was awarded his full compensation claim of £151,025, plus
indemnity costs (a
punitive measure the court can award), against the club.

Paul
Quain and Helen Sutton of law firm Charles Russell represented Stransky, during
the case at the High Court in London.

Mr
Justice Eady found that the club was in breach of contract after Mr Stransky
had been offered a two-year contract as backs coach for Bristol Rugby Club
during a conversation with the thenchief executive Nick De Scossa in the Beaujolais restaurant in
Bath on April 10 2000.

Mr
Stransky claimed they shook hands on the deal, and he then informed Peter Wheeler, CEO at
Leicester Tigers where he was a player/coach.

However, when Mr Stransky visited
the Bristol team the day before he was due to start his new job, he discovered
through the press that he was not being offered the position.

Mr
Stransky then claimed breach of contract, as a verbal contract is legally
binding, and sought compensation for the loss of two years’ earnings.

Mr
Stransky gave evidence in person, and Bob Dwyer, former director of Rugby at
Bristol, gave evidence supporting his case via video link from Australia,
saying that he negotiated terms of the new job with Mr Stransky.

Quain
said: “We are delighted to have advised Joel Stransky in his successful claim.

“This
is a timely reminder for many people, particularly for those involved with ‘big
names’ that a verbal contract is as legally binding as a written contract. You
don’t need a piece of paper if you’ve shaken on it.”

By Ben Willmott

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