A butcher who supplied meat to a celebrity chef has failed in his bid to claim over £4,000 he said he was owed.
In dismissing the claim, Circuit Judge Timothy Petts said that Glyn Davies had acted unreasonably in bringing the case against Bryn Williams, who was awarded costs of £3,500.
In a remotely-conducted county court hearing Mr Davies, who ran the Denbigh business of J Williams and Co, said he had known the chef and his family for many years and started supplying him with meat in 2015.
Bryn Williams is head chef an proprietor at Odette’s restaurant in Primrose Hill, London, and also Porth Eirias on the seafront in Colwyn Bay, and Mr Davies, who sold his butchery business in 2018, told the court that when he received an order he always put an invoice in the box addressed to “Porth Eirias”.
He brought the small claims action for £4,253 against “Bryn Williams, trading as Porth Eirias”, but the chef, who shot to fame in television’s Great British Menu in 2006, said he was merely a partner and shareholder in the business with his friend David Owen, and that the company name was “Shel Restaurants Ltd”.
“I’m at Porth Eirias only once or twice a month,” he said.
Mr Davies accepted there was no formal contract to supply the restaurants but his agreement was with Mr Williams, and he was never aware of Shel Restaurants.
Sion Williams, representing Mr Williams, said the question of ownership of the business could have been solved very early in the proceedings had Mr Davies provided “protocol letters”, the recognised procedure for initiating legal proceedings.
He said: “I suggest that you brought these proceedings against Bryn Williams personally because you thought he was a more attractive defendant as a celebrity chef and would attract more media interest.”
His Honour Judge Petts accepted Sion Williams’ submission that the contract was between J Williams and Co and Shel Restaurants, adding: “Therefore Bryn Williams is not personally liable for any outstanding amount.”
The claimant’s solicitor John Owens said his client genuinely believed that he was bringing the claim against the right defendant but the judge ruled that they had acted unreasonably by not carrying out the necessary identification checks before pursuing the case.
“Both sides have fought very hard, harder than usual in a small claims case,” he said.
Mr Sion Williams said it was unfair to expect Bryn Williams to have to pay his legal costs in the light of such unreasonable conduct, and sought costs of £4,458, but the judge awarded him £3,500, which he said should be paid by Mr Owens.