Rebuffed names plan to fight on in court

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A last-ditch attempt to avert a judicial review of the Lloyd's pounds 3.2bn rescue plan failed yesterday when rebel names were rebuffed at a meeting with the market authorities. The Paying Names Action Group met Lloyd's officials and the market's legal adviser Barry O'Brien, a senior partner at Freshfields.

The names asked for extra help for those who had paid their debts in full, who do not benefit as much from the pounds 3.2bn rescue as those who refused. A Lloyd's spokesman said the group had been "left in no doubt of the vigour with which any action would be contested".

Mr O'Brien said afterwards: "If they insist, they are entitled to their day in court."

Anticipating a battle, Lloyd's said it had recruited three leading Queen's Counsel who were specialists in judicial review.

Lloyd's case against attempts to overturn its pounds 3.2bn settlement offer had been reviewed by the three QCs, by solicitors Slaughter and May and by the Department of Trade and Industry and its lawyers and the result had been a "fair old choir of QCs singing to the same tune", Mr O'Brien said. A spokesman reiterated that no more could be done to change the offer.

The meeting came as Lloyd's mailed formal offers to 34,000 members detailing the effect on them of the rescue, on which they have to vote by 28 August.

Lloyd's also announced that it had won a case establishing that it had the right to receive cash won by names litigating against the market. It also named the trustees for Equitas, the reinsurance vehicle for the rescue and announced plans for new Scottish limited partnerships which will allow names to continue in the market but with limited liability.

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