Lloyd’s List, Tuesday, October 23rd 2007

Lloyd’s seeks court gag on former name.

LLOYD’S is to seek a High Court order restraining one of its fiercest critics, Sally Noel, from furthering claims she has unsuccessfully pursued in support of her allegations of fraud, writes James Brewer.

Nicholas Demery, a solicitor with the legal and compliance department of Lloyd’s, filed the application before Mr Justice Gross, who asked for a draft of the proposed civil order to be drawn up for consideration on a date to be agreed.

Mrs Noel, a name during the period in the 1970s and 1980s when Lloyd’s was piling up asbestosis losses, failed in her latest attempt to get the judiciary to hear what she claims is fresh evidence of fraud. The judge awarded costs £3,250 ($6,630) against her.

After the judge accepted the arguments of Lloyd’s Mr Demery urged the court to prevent Mrs Noel from advancing further applications regarding fraud issues, which were said to have been covered in the landmark Jaffray case, and over an allegedly concealed Lloyd’s verification form on which she said her purported signature should her examined by a graphologist.

Mrs. Noel was refused [leave] to bring a Commercial Court counterclaim against Lloyd’s ahead of a planned hearing next month, in which she fears Lloyd’s will seek to bankrupt her.

She said she was in a unique position, having resigned in 1985 and therefore being outside the provisions of the reconstruction and renewal scheme that saved the market from disaster.

She had built up a dossier of “just how devious and ingenious successive chairmen of Lloyd’s were” but her evidence had never been considered by the court, she said. Lloyd’s had wanted to go on recruiting names while rolling forward losses and under-reserving. Her evidence had become “conclusive” since the Jaffray judgment, in which allegations of fraud were thrown out.

Mr Justice Gross cited the sympathy of other Judges for the predicament of names but also their discouragement of a “rehash of litigation” and the need for “finality”.