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Saturday November 26, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

The £500,000 battle between the ski instructor, Simon Butler, and his professional association, BASI, is over. The two sides were due in court this week but Mr Butler has dropped the case.

Mr Butler has withdrawn all his claims following his victory in the French courts this week.

The decision, that we reported here, means he is now cleared to work as an instructor in Megève this season. 

The decision by the French authorities is likely to have huge ramifications throughout the ski industry, as well as for all other instructors from various sports wishing to work in France. 

Here at PlanetSKI we will be looking at this in more detail later.

In the light of the development Mr Butler's solicitor and advocate, Niall Mickell, issued the following statement on Saturday afternoon after detailed negotiations with the British Association of Snowsport Instructors.

"So far as Simon's Scottish action is concerned, after careful consideration and having taken legal advice on the matter, the claim against BASI for his MOU stamp to be restored to him in terms of his grandfathering rights and Eurotest exemption, as well as the damages claim for his loss of income as a result of BASI's actions will now be dropped. 

"In coming to this decision, amongst many other factors, Simon was aware that large sums of BASI members' money were potentially at risk, but given the entire point of both court actions was to allow him to work on the slopes, this has now been achieved and there is no purpose to be served in continuing to pursue matters.

The first action against BASI to restore him to membership after he was unlawfully expelled was concluded in his favour, and in settling the current Scottish case, Simon hopes this will bring an end to the years of upset, rancour and distress this entire episode has caused to everyone concerned."

British Association of Snowsports InstructorsBritish Association of Snowsport Instructors











Negotiations have been going on all weekend.

Earlier the following statement was issued to PlanetSKI on early Saturday afternoon ahead of the resolution.

"Ongoing discussions are taking place across the weekend and both parties want this situation resolved in everyone's interests with a sensible outcome. If we can reach this then so much the better," said Niall Mickell.

At the time Mr Mickell would not be drawn on any of the sticking points in the negotiations or what a predicted outcome might be.

Meanwhile Simon Butler has issued the following statement.

"To say I am delighted to be back working this season is an understatement.

"It has been torture not being able to ski with anyone in Megève the last three years. I am looking forward to getting started.

"Thank you very much to everyone for all the support and kind words over the years and last few days, it really has been overwhelming.

"From family, friends and guests and so many colleagues in the ski world, many who I have never met. I am humbled by the response, thank you."

The ramifications of the case will now be felt through BASI.

Some members are asking why such a course of action was taken again Mr Butler and how much the saga has cost.

No figures have been released or indeed the final legal bill.

There have already been calls for the resignations of senior figures within BASI.

Others have seen Mr Butler as a divisive figure and, at the time, supported the policies of the Board.

BASI has published this statement on its website:

Under the terms of the settlement, Mr Butler has abandoned his court action against BASI with both sides agreeing to pay their own legal costs. Mr Butler has also given several undertakings to the Court:

  • That Mr Butler will not ever raise any claims or proceedings of whatever nature against BASI seeking to challenge (i) the decision of February 2014 not to grant Mr Butler his MoU stamp and the decision of November 2014 to remove Mr Butler as a member of BASI, (ii) the decision of 1 November 2016 not to grant Mr Butler his MoU stamp, and (iii) the reasoning of BASI in making the 1 November 2016 decision; and
  • That Mr Butler will not ever raise any claims or proceedings of whatever nature against BASI seeking damages from BASI in relation to any of the above decisions.

For the avoidance of doubt, this settlement did not involve Mr Butler being granted an MoU stamp.

Settlement came after two days of hearings at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. At the first of these hearings on Thursday 24 November Mr Butler's Counsel sought to discharge the evidential hearing set down for Tuesday 29 November, asking for time to consider the recent decision of the Lyon administrative court. The Court refused this. This request was repeated at a second hearing on Friday 25 November and was again refused. The Court then heard argument from both parties and refused to allow Mr Butler to introduce additional challenges in relation to a new decision to refuse his MoU stamp of 1 November 2016, advising that it is unlikely a case brought on these grounds would receive permission to proceed.

Subsequent to this hearing the parties continued with settlement discussion which had been opened by BASI on Tuesday 22 November. An agreement was reached on Friday afternoon and the court action was formally refused on Tuesday 29 November, bringing the action to an end. While BASI is saddened that it has been forced to enter into court proceedings against one of its own members, it is happy that in this case an agreement to the benefit of both parties has been reached without further cost needing to be incurred by either party. While BASI maintains that its position was correct and was fully committed to defending the action to its conclusion, it is hoped that this agreement will draw a line in this issue.

A fuller statement will be issued to members in due course.

You can read the full story of Butler v BASI in our articles, starting with the most recent.

Dramatic Development in Butler v BASI

Butler v BASI Court of Session Day 2

Butler v BASI Court of Session Day 1

Butler Stands for BASI Chairman

BASI Reassures its Members

BASI Faces Turmoil

Butler sues BASI for £500,000

Butler Calls for Dialogue with BASI

Butler Expulsion from BASI Suspended

Butler Thrown Out of BASI

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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