Equitable Life abandons £1.3bn ‘lost sale’ claim

Equitable Life has abandoned its £1.3bn ‘lost sale’ claim against former auditors Ernst & Young (E&Y), vastly reducing the amount claimed in the ongoing High Court litigation.

The insurance society is still claiming over £700m from E&Y and over £1bn from former directors for negligence.

At the beginning of July The Lawyer reported that Equitable had decided to pursue the sale claim after lead counsel Iain Milligan QC of 20 Essex Street dropped an application to amend the case for the sixth time.

In Court 76 yesterday E&Y’s counsel, Brick Court Chambers’ Mark Hapgood QC, denied the auditors had tacitly admitted negligence.

E&Y said in a statement that: “The fact that four years into this process and nearly half way through the trial Equitable has abandoned its £1.3bn sale claim against Ernst & Young shows what a desperate state their case is in.”

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert partner Clare Canning is advising E&Y. Herbert Smith’s Charles Plant is acting for Equitable.

The trial continues.