Elsen's battle with Cicero appears likely to intensify

The legal row between Cicero Consulting and former co-founder Richard Elsen is set to escalate.

Speaking after winning his employment tribunal case against Cicero this week, Elsen announced he is now looking to take High Court action claiming damages for alleged breach of contract.

Furthermore, as a shareholder of Cicero, he is set to request an emergency general meeting of the firm calling for the ousting of MD Jeremy Swan.

The tribunal found by a majority that Elsen had been constructively dismissed and awarded damages, understood to be between £10,000 and £15,000.

Elsen said: 'I regarded taking legal action against Cicero as an important matter of principle ... I now intend to take further action in the High Court.'

Iain Anderson, the only co-founder to have remained at Cicero, said that in relation to any forthcoming High Court action: 'We have always said that we will vigorously defend the interest of our business and shareholders.

That position has not changed.'

On the possibility of an emergency general meeting, he said he had 'no doubt' the shareholders were behind the present management team.

Following the employment tribunal decision, Anderson said that despite losing, he was 'encouraged' that the final ruling was not unanimous and that the award was less than Elsen's initial claim of losses.

Since leaving Cicero, Elsen has co-founded litigation PR specialist Bell Yard. The agency is made up entirely of ex-Cicero staffers, having been co-founded with ex-Cicero associate director Melanie Riley and including former MD Stephen Lock and associate Peter Shackleton.

Clients Bell Yard have worked for include Michael Jackson, over the repercussions from his interview with Martin Bashir (PRWeek, 14 February 2003), and Kerim Derhalli, the city banker whose £10m law suit against Lehman Brothers was recently settled (PRWeek, 21 February 2003).

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