Major steps into Lloyd's dispute

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The Independent Online
The Prime Minister, John Major, has stepped into a dispute over whether the ruling council of Lloyd's is subject to judicial review by insisting it is possible for courts to review its actions.

The Prime Minister's comments come in a letter to Lord Alexander of Tunis, a loss-hit Lloyd's name and Tory peer. Lloyd's names have believed a a judicial review to be impossible following a 1992 court judgment rejecting an application by names on Gooda Walker syndicates for a review of Lloyd's demands for names to pay their underwriting losses.

Names have claimed the 1992 judgment means they were misled by Parliament when the Lloyd's Act was passed in 1982. when the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay of Clashfern - currently the Lord Chancellor - said: "Judicial review will be available as a remedy for oppressive or unfair acts, and nothing in the Bill affects that."

In his letter, Mr Major says, "It may be that the effect of the (1992) decision was to narrow the scope of judicial review as contemplated by the Lord Advocate. However, it does not seem to me that the (1992) decision prevents it from being available in other circumstances.I do not consider the observations of the Lord Advocate in the 1982 debate could be regarded as misleading."

Lord Alexander of Tunis said: "A judicial review would nail once and for all the failure of Lloyd's."