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Solicitors' insurer given go-ahead to pursue €4.9m Bloxham case


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A solicitors' insurer can pursue its application for judgment for €4.9m allegedly outstanding under a 2011 settlement with Bloxham stockbrokers, a High Court judge has ruled.

The January 2011 settlement was made in proceedings over losses suffered by the Solicitors Mutual Defence Fund (SMDF) after investing in a bond which fell 97pc in value.

SMDF, now R&Q Ireland Company Limited by Guarantee, claims it lost almost all of its then reserves of €8.4m due to negligence of Bloxham, which collapsed in 2012.

Its chairman, Patrick Dorgan, said in an affidavit it had to get a €5m guarantee from the Law Society to protect its position, ceased offering indemnity to solicitors in 2012 and is now in run-off. It ultimately had to fund a rescue package of up to €13m and finalised a run-off agreement with R&Q in November 2016.

The insurer applied earlier this year to the High Court for leave to re-enter proceedings, initiated in 2009 against Bloxham, to seek judgment for €4.9m.

Re-entry was opposed by lawyers representing five former Bloxham partners - Arthur Quinlan, Stradbrook Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin; Angus McDonnell, Ballymoney Park, Kilbride, Co Wicklow; Pramit Ghose, St Mary's Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin; Martin Harte, Idrone Terrace, Blackrock, Co Dublin; and Anne Barrett, Shrewsbury Park, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge.

They argued a High Court order of January 31, 2011, made when the settlement was announced, stated the proceedings were "struck out with liberty to re-enter" and the words "struck out" prevented any matter other than the original cause of action being re-entered.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald said the words "struck out with liberty to re-enter" signalled the court was to have a future role and the striking out of the proceedings was "not intended to terminate them entirely", he said.

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