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Court dispute leads to massive legal fees over number plate


The number plate JM 2 has been returned to its owner after and a long and costly court battle.

Sir John Madejski, chairman of Reading Football Club, mounted legal fees of £300,000 to get his private registration back.

The number plate, which was originally released in December 1931, has been independently valued at £50,000.

Dispute over the cherished registration started in 2010 when Sir John Madejski sold a Jaguar XJ220 – which displayed the registration – in an auction. He insists that the registration mark was not included in his deal with the auctions, Coys of Kensington.

Car enthusiast, Malcolm Harrison, paid £130,000 at auction for the Jaguar. Malcolm and his son, Jack, claim they increased their maximum bid by £30,000 believing the registration was included.

In the eyes of the DVLA it is the registered keeper of the vehicle that has control over the attached number plate. By becoming the registered owner before the number was retained, Malcolm became the legal owner. It was at this point that Mr Harrison retained the number plate in his own name.

The case was ruled on last year when Judge Donald Hamilton of Reading County Court ruled that: ‘No reasonable buyer could have concluded that the mark was included in the sale’.

Sir John was to be paid £30,000 in damages for the value of the registration less the £20,000 Mr Harrison had spent on the vehicle’s MOT.

Harrison did appeal the decision but this was dismissed as neither the auction brochure or website suggested the JM 2 reg mark was included with the vehicle.

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