The biggest claim against a barrister since the Lords ruling in Hall Simons, which abolished barristers' immunity from being sued for negligence in court, has settled
Insurer Abbey Life, the claimant, has also settled with Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw. Abbey Life widened its claim to include 3 Verulam Buildings silk Richard de Lacy after the Lords ruling in 2001. Details of the settlement are confidential, although a source said: "The matter settled without admission or findings as to liabilities on the part of the defendants." The hefty £10m claim against de Lacy and the firm would have made it one of the largest professional negligence claims of the new court term. The case was set down for 30 days at the High Court. Abbey Life alleged that they acted negligently in their defence of proceedings brought by Glyne Invest-ments against one of the insurers' businesses, Target Life. Glyne sued in 1993 after Target terminated its agreement and refused to make commission payments. Target had a contractual arrangement with David Heaton, an agent of Glyne. Heaton and two other assignees of Glyne are currently claimants in a live action against other insurers Axa Equity and Law Life Assurance Society. A clerk said he had several Hall Simon cases set down for 2003, some of which are bigger than the de Lacy case. However, David Simpson, a claims executive at the Bar Mutual Management Company, said he has not seen such cases. He added: "Bar Mutual has even reduced its premiums since the Hall case by allowing deferrals until a later date of premium payments for all barristers. We don't need the money so we can defer the payment." All claims of negligence against barristers for their court conduct have been dismissed, Simpson said. Roger ter Haar QC of Crown Office Chambers and Roger Masefield of Brick Court acted for the claimants in the de Lacy negligence action.