The Government must reassess how it compensated former Equitable Life pension policyholders after the High Court rejected attempts to quash a parliamentary ombudsman report into the near collapse of the insurer.
Bindmans partner Stephen Grosz instructed Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose QC (pictured) to bring a judicial review of the Government’s response to a report by Ann Abraham, the former parliamentary ombudsman.
Rose was instructed to act on behalf of 21,000 members of the Equitable Members Action Group (EMAG), who argued they were deprived of adequate compensation (15 April 2009).
When the Treasury responded it apologised for “maladministration”, but rejected calls for all Equitable Life policyholders to be compensated.
Instead the Treasury requested that retired judge Sir John Chadwick assess whose losses had been caused by the maladministration in a bid to identify who should be compensated
Rose argued that this would mean thousands of policyholders would miss out on a payout.
In response, Clive Lewis QC of 11KBW, said the Treasury had not acted unlawfully and that the attack was rash.
The Court ruled that the Treasury was wrong to only consider paying compensation for maladministration post 1999 and that it should give much wider consideration to policyholders dating back as far as 1991.
The Government was refused leave to appeal the ruling and it now has 21 days to respond to the court, with any further order expected within seven days of that response.
The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, instructed 11KBW’s Jason Copped to act as an intervenor.