04 November 1999

Times Law Reports

Queen's Bench Division Commercial Court

Lloyd's Litigation.


Before Mr Justice Cresswell

Judgment October 28, 1999


Lloyd's - joining group action against the society


Joining group action against Lloyd's


Lloyd's Litigation: Note Any Lloyd's name who wished to reserve the right to advance certain allegations of fraud against Lloyd's must provide written notice to Lloyd's solicitors confirming that they wished to become parties to the group action Jaffray v Society of Lloyd's.


Mr Justice Cresswell so stated in the Commercial Court of the Queen's Bench Division on October 28, 1999.


MR JUSTICE CRESSWELLsaid that there were currently about 1,568 Lloyd's names who had not reached settlements with Lloyd's, 148 of whom were claimants in the action Jaffray v Society of Lloyd's.


In those proceedings the claimants were alleging that they had been fraudulently induced to become or remain underwriting members of the Lloyd's market by reason of Lloyd's failure to disclose the nature and extent of the market's liability for asbestos related claims.


The Commercial Court had ordered that the trial of that issue, the threshold fraud issue, in relation to three sample names would take place in the High Court in London starting in January 2000.


It was important that all names who had not entered into a settlement with Lloyd's appreciated that so far as the High Court was concerned that trial was intended finally to resolve allegations of fraud in respect of the treatment of asbestos related losses at Lloyd's between 1978 and 1988.


Any individual who wished to reserve the right to advance such allegations against Lloyd's before the High Court must provide written notice to Lloyd's solicitors, Freshfields, 65 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1HS (ref RDP/GN, tel 0171 936 4000, fax 0171 832 7001) by no later than December 3, 1999, in the case of individuals ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom and Europe, or by December 10, 1999, in all other cases, confirming that they wished to become parties to the litigation.


Failing timely service of such a notice, those individuals would thereafter be precluded from advancing such allegations without the court's permission.


An individual who did provide written notice by the specified date would be entitled to become a party to the proceedings on date of receipt of such notice, and would be bound by the High Court's determination of the threshold fraud issue.


In the event of the action being unsuccessful, a party serving such a notice might be liable for a proportionate share of Lloyd's costs.


Further information on the threshold fraud issue, or the method of becoming a party to the action could be obtained from the claimants' solicitors, More Fisher Brown, 1 Norton Folgate, London, E1 6DA (ref Jim Edwards/ Alison McNair, tel 0171 247 0438, fax 0171 422 0760).