Shell International has set up a new legal panel to handle its UK and international claims work in partnership with newly appointed Claims Management Group Limited (CMGL).
The new legal panel includes South West firm Bond Pearce, Weightmans in Liverpool and niche Birmingham practice Jonas Roy Bloom. Shell has also appointed longstanding adviser David Rogers, who specialises in large, unusual claims and multi-jurisdictional cases. Rogers is a consultant at Vizards Staples & Bannisters, but his firm has not been appointed to the panel. Longstanding claims adviser Beachcroft Wansbroughs has so far been left out of the panel. A source close to the appointment process said: "We nominally use Beachcrofts in Fetter Lane, but not that often. We do use it, but the reality is that most of the work can be done by lawyers outside of London that are cheaper." Beachcrofts was unavailable for comment as The Lawyer went to press. It is understood that work will be split on a geographical basis, with Bond Pearce handling work in the South and Weightmans in the North. The UK firms will also be instructed to assist on European and cross-border claims. They will work in conjunction with Shell's European firms. Shell Finance Services appointed CMGL as its claims handler in October 2000 after a competitive tender. Its role is to develop a professional general liability, product liability and uninsured loss recovery claims management service for Shell companies worldwide. CMGL will handle pre-litigation work, while the legal panel will be brought in to deal with litigated claims. Since CMGL's appointment, Shell and CMGL have worked together to set up the panel of law firms. It is understood that the firms were nominated by Shell and then had to be approved by CMGL. The new panel will report to CMGL. Both Weightmans and Jonas Roy have longstanding relationships with Shell. The oil giant is a new client for Bond Pearce, although client relationship partner Ian Martyn worked for Shell earlier in his career at Davies Arnold Cooper. Martyn said: "We were aware of the stated strategy of Shell and CMGL, that they wished to harmonise insurance-related legal services to produce a first class, consistent and cost effective performance. "We're delighted to have satisfied Shell and CMGL that Bond Pearce possesses those qualities. Given the brand name and reputation of both companies we're rating this as an extremely prestigious appointment."