Taking offence

Failed Innovator One claimants steeled for indemnity costs claim by Collyer Bristow

Less than a year ago Collyer Bristow warned the High Court that it was on the brink of financial meltdown thanks to alleged negligence by its insurance broker Lockton International and, separately, the £50m Innovator One negligence claim it was fighting. The firm breathed a sigh of relief last week as the High Court threw out the claim, dismissing allegations of conspiracy, dishonest assistance and negligence.

The failure of the group action, after three years of court battles, sent shockwaves through the profession. The claimants seemed certain of victory after securing £5m to fund the claim through a conditional fee arrangement.

Now that judgment has been delivered, however, Collyers is ready to fight back. It plans an indemnity costs claim against the claimants. The dispute may not affect insurers QBE and Brit, which provided the after-the-event premium on the case, or Allianz, which provided the third-party funding, but it will lay bare how the package was put together.

At the time the deal was agreed the claimants’ lead partner, Enyo Law’s Michael Green, was still a partner with Addleshaw Goddard. Sources close to the firm suggest the loss of such a large claim could not only affect the fees generated by Enyo on this dispute, but also those of Addleshaws.

If Enyo is unable to get together a fresh round of funding there will be no appeal – after all, this is not a pro bono case. Instead, the lessons of a litigation group loss will be there for all to see.