Collyer Bristow plans Innovator One costs claim

Collyer Bristow is preparing to launch an indemnity costs claim against the 555 claimants which failed in their attempt to sue the firm on Friday.

The Innovator One claim, which was listed by The Lawyer as one to watch in January 2011 (3 January 2011) was dismissed by Mr Justice Hamblen on Friday (18 May 2012).

The 555 claimants, represented by Enyo Law partner Michael Green and Four New Square’s John Powell QC, made allegations of conspiracy, dishonest assistance, and negligence against the firm during a 16-week trial in the High Court.

The case had ramifications for a claim being pursued by Collyer against its liability insurance brokers, Lockton International. The firm alleges that Lockton was negligent when it placed cover for the year the Innovator One claim concerns (3 October 2011).

Collyer Bristow is understood to be currently deciding whether to continue the action against the brokers with a court hearing scheduled for the Michaelmas term. In the meantime, the firm is gearing up to bring an indemnity costs claim against the Innovator One claimants.

It is understood Enyo is currently considering whether to appeal the ruling, with further funding needed for the case to proceed. The Innovator claim was one of the largest independently funded cases to be brought before the High Court, with a £5m package, with £5m worth of litigation funding from Allianz ProzessFinanz and after-the-event insurance covered by QBE and Brit Insurance (22 June 2009).

Allianz withdrew from the European and UK litigation funding market in November (28 November 2011). In April Brit sold its UK renewal rights for its UK regional operations to QBE. The loss, however, will be covered by the two insurers separately.

Concerns have been raised over whether third party funders would remain committed to the sector following High Court’s decision to reject the claim.

Vanin Capital’s Nick Rowles-Davies said it was a “short sighted view”, adding: “Funders are there to take big risks and they have a portfolio based approach to risks. Because of the nature of the funding market we don’t know about other cases that have been lost. To complain about the decision-making process in the case is a completely misguided view.”