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September 27, 2013

Charity publisher drops passing off claim against former editor

By Gavriel Hollander

The charity that published axed architecture magazine Cornerstone has dropped its law suit against its former editor.

According to Robin Stummer, the editor who was dismissed from the magazine in July 2012, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) has dropped its High Court action against him.

The withdrawal of the claim now means that Stummer can pursue his own employment tribunal claim against SPAB for unfair dismissal.

He was being sued for passing off, breach of contract and infringement of copyright after the charity said he was using Cornerstone material, including photos, on his own private web page and Facebook. The case against him was launched just a month after he lodged his own unfair dismissal claim.

At the time, Stummer told Press Gazette that he believed the case against him had been brought in response to his attempt to bring his former employer to an employment tribunal. He said he has personally spent around £20,000 fighting the case.

Before the publisher’s claim was withdrawn, Stummer had asked the Charity Commission to intervene in the case, citing guidelines that said charities’ money should be spent only on “charitable objectives”.

Following the news that the charity had dropped the claim, he said: ”It just underlines what a complete farce the whole action was.

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“The Charity Commission should never have allowed it to go ahead.”

SPAB did not respond to a request to comment.

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