Lloyd's seeks to ground Gooda Walker review

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The Independent Online
LLOYD'S went on the attack in the High Court yesterday to try to gain a ruling that a successful application for a judicial review sought by members of the troubled Gooda Walker insurance syndicates should be set aside.

On the first day of the hearing before Lord Justice Leggatt and Mr Justice Popplewell, Gordon Pollock QC, counsel for Lloyd's, said that the underwriting members bringing the action had been issued with demands for cash, in the form of 'calls', from their agents more than three months before they had entered an application for a judicial review into the background to their pounds 491m losses.

Mr Pollock argued that the members were 'out of time' when they lodged the application.

'No case has been put forward as to why the delay occurred,' he told the court.

Mr Pollock alleged that there had been material non-disclosure by the underwriting members pursuing the current action when they gained the right to pursue an application for a judicial review before Mr Justice Potts in May this year.

Mr Justice Potts was told that there was no overlap of interests between members pursuing this action and other action taking place elsewhere in the courts.

'Mr Justice Potts can only have been left with a wholly false impression,' Mr Pollock said.

Mr Pollock said three of the applicants for the judicial review had sought an injunction earlier to prevent Lloyd's drawing down on their deposits lodged with the market to pay insurance claims.

Rather than public law, he stressed, Lloyd's relied on a private Act of Parliament in the way that it conducted its affairs, in which an underwriting member undertakes to carry on business at Lloyd's and discharge his liabilities through an agency.

Anthony Coleman, counsel for an underwriting member, Frederick Briggs, and others bringing the action, argued that Lloyd's was a public body affecting large numbers of the public.

'Lloyd's is a body which has been subsequently recognised to have control over a whole cluster of interests,' he said.

He added that Lloyd's had a major responsibility to the Department of Trade and Industry.

The hearing continues today.