Lloyd's members fail in judicial review attempt

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The Independent Online
MORE than 2,000 Lloyd's underwriting members whose affairs were managed by the Gooda Walker agency failed yesterday in their attempt to gain a judicial review into the background of their losses.

Lloyd's had challenged an earlier court decision which gave six underwriting members acting on behalf of the others leave to apply for a judicial review. Members belonging to the agency's syndicates have suffered losses of pounds 491m.

The six members - Norbert Mallet, of Horsham, West Sussex, a member of the Gooda Walker action group; Frederick Briggs, of Poole, Dorset; Michael Denny, of Watchfield, Oxfordshire; Gerda Doll-Steinberg and Jack Harvey, of Islington, London; and Anthony Platts of Winchester, Hampshire - are now prevented from seeking court orders to stave off demands for cash to meet the massive losses they face.

Lord Justice Legatt and Mr Justice Popplewell set aside permission granted to the members by Mr Justice Potts to challenge the legality of the 'cash calls' in judicial review proceedings.

The syndicate members, already exposed to possible ruin, face a bill for legal costs awarded against them on an 'indemnity' basis - the highest possible level of costs - and running into tens of thousands of pounds.

Mr Doll-Steinberg, head of the Gooda Walker action group, said that his group aimed to raise pounds 20m to continue legal action. So far it had raised pounds 1.5m and was seeking a further pounds 1m.

'We intend to spend every penny of that pounds 20m to pursue our rights,' he said outside the court. 'We intend to appeal. We are determined to bring Lloyd's failure to discharge its responsibilities into the legal spotlight.'

David Coleridge, Lloyd's chairman, said: 'Naturally we are pleased with the outcome. While we have every sympathy with those who have suffered losses at Lloyd's, our duty is to ensure that the society as a whole continues to be able to offer policyholders unrivalled security.'