A LIVERPOOL museum’s bid for more than £3.5m compensation from the architects it blames for design problems will begin in the High Court next month.
National Museums Liverpool (NML) has brought a claim of serious "professional negligence" against Manchester-based AEW Architects relating to the design of the new waterfront Museum of Liverpool.
The £72m facility, which opened in 2011, is said to have been hit with numerous technical problems, including the collapse of part of a ceiling, injuring a workman.
Its operator, the Board of Trustees of National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, launched a High Court claim against the firm to cover the cost of rectifying the alleged problems.
AEW is contesting the claim.
In a preliminary hearing yesterdaymon ahead of a High Court trial due to begin on April 22, Mr Justice Akenhead spelled out the nature of the case against AEW.
He said: "A number of complaints are made in these proceedings by the claimant against their architects, mostly to do with design decisions or approval of design decisions."
Lawyers for the museum board complained that "a log jam" was developing due to a delay by AEW in exchanging witness statements.
Ordering the firm to have its witness evidence in by lunchtime this Friday, March 8, the judge said a failure to comply would result in it being banned from relying on such evidence.
He said: "What needs to be done as a matter of utmost urgency is for those statements to be put together in a sensible way, approved by the witnesses and served.
"These delays are very serious, jeopardising the maintenance of the trial date."
No-one from AEW was available for comment.
A spokesman for NML said: "We can confirm we are involved in a legal action with AEW.
"As proceedings are ongoing, it is inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage."
NML had been embroiled in legal battles with both sets of architects that were involved in work on its flagship museum.
The original architects, Danish firm 3XN, was sacked from the project in 2007 and later revealed it was taking legal advice about whether it could sue NML for using its designs, as the finished museum stuck largely to its controversial X-shaped blueprint.
This case was settled in