March 31, 2010

Quinn Insurance enters administration

Irish insurer Quinn Insurance, which has a substantial London Market presence, has gone into administration, leaving their policyholders in a potentially precarious position. Solicitors may be particularly at risk.

Quinn is reported to insure in the region of 2,000 firms of solicitors. However, if Quinn is removed from the Law Society’s list of approved insurers (which only includes insurers which are able to meet certain criteria, including being solvent), those solicitors will be required to find alternative insurance elsewhere, or face being placed into the Assigned Risks Pool. In either case, policyholders are likely to find the cost of obtaining alternative insurance to be prohibitive.

Also under pressure as a result of Quinn entering administration are the insurance brokers who recommended that their clients buy policies from Quinn. So far as their clients incur additional costs as a result of having to find cover with alternative insurers or, in the worst case, if Quinn becomes unable to pay policyholders’ claims, the brokers that placed insurance with Quinn are likely to face mis-selling claims from their clients.

March 8, 2010

Our comments on film finance schemes for the Financial Times

Film finance schemes are back in the news for the wrong reasons, with HMRC investigating claims for tax relief by investors.  For our article on the problems facing investors from last weekend’s Financial Times, please click on the following link:

March 4, 2010

Court of Appeal decision on solicitors’ retainers

The Court of Appeal has overturned the decisions of two lower courts, in ruling that a firm of solicitors was entitled to terminate their retainer with a client who had insisted that they advance “unarguable” points of law before the Court.

In reaching its decision in the case of Buxton v Mills-Owen [2008] EWHC 1831 (QB), the Court of Appeal took into account the fact that, pursuant to CPR 1.1, the overriding objective would not be furthered by litigants advancing hopeless arguments.

The Court also held that the appellant solicitors were entitled to be paid all fees incurred up to the date on which they had terminated their client’s retainer.

A complete version of the judgment can be viewed at the following link: