C&W poised to settle £40m case as counsel walks out

Cable & Wireless (C&W) is on the brink of settling its £40m court case against 17 defendants in the same week as general counsel Andrew Garard sensationally quit the telecoms company.

A C&W statement said that Garard was leaving the company “following the successful resolution of a number of legal proceedings”. He is replaced by Nick Cooper, previously general counsel and company secretary of Energis, which was acquired by C&W in August 2005 for £780m.

C&W and captive insurer Pender Insurance launched a claim in March 2004 against 17 defendants, including Pender’s Isle of Man manager, insurance company Willis and law firm Collyer-Bristow.

The claimants alleged that the defendants were involved in siphoning off a total of £80m in reinsurance premiums from Pender to Guernsey-based protected cell company Messenger.

A court-ordered mediation failed last year and the case came before the High Court in October 2005. It is understood that negotiations continued simultaneously with the trial and that preliminary agreements were reached with a number of parties, including Collyer-Bristow, in late December. The firm confirmed the settlement but declined to comment further.

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert partners Andrew Scott and Francis Kean acted for Pender and Clifford Chance partner Terry O’Neill advised C&W. They instructed Brick Court Chambers’ Jonathan Hirst QC. Beachcroft Wansbroughs’ Dawn Mullins and 4 New Square head Justin Fenwick QC represented Collyer-Bristow. Other defendants were represented by Berwin Leighton Paisner, Byrne & Partners Ince & Co and Lovells.