In 1984 Emile Woolf established the litigation support department at Kingston Smith. During the 25 years between then and 2009 he provided Expert Reports for solicitors and barristers on over 400 legal disputes involving allegations of accountants’ professional negligence, measurement of loss and damage in civil cases following breach of contract or defamation, compensation for loss of profit in construction cases, fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, measurement of dependency compensation, divorce, valuation disputes and actions by professional bodies following disciplinary and ethical breaches. He has given evidence at Trial in over 40 cases, most of them in the UK, but also in Johannesburg, Karachi and Anguilla.
The majority of Emile’s accountancy and auditing cases in which Emile was retained as Expert Witness are featured in his jointly-authored 2010 book “Pitfalls for Accountants & Auditors.”
Emile’s more colourful cases included a defence of the satirical magazine “Private Eye” in a defamation action brought by an accountant after the “Eye” alleged that he was overcharging his clients mercilessly. Although the financial consequences of losing the case were life-threatening for the magazine, to their credit they chose to defend it. Emile’s expert evidence continued for a record-breaking two weeks in the High Court, during which he was rigorously cross-examined on a case-by-case analysis of the factual circumstances relating to each client. He was able to demonstrate to the judge’s satisfaction that the fees charged by the accountant to his clients could not possibly be justified by reference to time reasonably spent or any other norms, and effectively amounted to extortion in every instance. The case against the “Eye” collapsed and its decision to defend the claim brought against it was vindicated. The massive costs bill was awarded in Private Eye’s favour, following which the accountant filed for bankruptcy.
In another case Emile acted as expert for the Spice Girls, whose company was sued by Aprilia, an Italian motor scooter company
In another case Emile acted as expert for the Spice Girls, whose company was sued by Aprilia, an Italian motor scooter company, after one of the girls, Gerry Halliwell, decided to leave the band just before a major world tour, leaving the scooter company with massive wasted costs on its stock of the special-edition scooters that carried tattooed images of all five girls.
The judge determined, firstly, that the girls’ company, in breach of contract, had failed to inform Aprilia that Gerry had left the band, and, secondly, that all tour costs incurred by Aprilia after the date of that breach should be repaid to Aprilia by the girls.
Emile’s forensic evidence to the Court demonstrated that all but £36,000 of Aprilia’s costs (amounting to several millions) had been incurred prior to the date of breach, none of which Aprilia was entitled to claim.