City firms do battle over NRG u380m damages claim

Top City litigators drew battle lines last week at the start of Dutch reinsurer NRG's action for damages against financial advisers totalling around u380 million.

City firm Allison & Humphreys is acting for NRG (Nederlandse Reassurantie Groep), which is suing Swiss Bank Corporation, accountants Ernst & Young and actuaries Bacon & Woodrow.

The case centres on the reinsurer's u122 million takeover of Victory Reinsurance from Legal & General in 1990, and the advice that it received from its three City advisers.

The High Court action is set to take six months and will cost millions of pounds.

Allison & Humphries, whose team is led by partner Charles Sands, instructs Rich-ard Aikens QC of Brick Court Chambers as senior counsel.

Cameron Markby Hewitt acts for Bacon & Woodrow. The firm's team, led by Belinda Schofield, instructs Gordon Langley QC of Fountain Court as senior counsel.

Linklaters & Paines acts for Swiss Bank Corporation. Its team, led by Diana Good, instructs Peter Scott QC, also of Fountain Court.

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert partners David Arthur and Clare Canning act for Ernst & Young. Their lead counsel is Christopher Symons QC of 3 Gray's Inn Place.

NRG alleges it received negligent advice prior to its purchase of Victory and three other associated companies. It alleges the advisers failed to discover the extent of Victory's exposure to losses from spiral reinsurance business.

All the defendants reject the allegations of negligence.