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Watson-Lyonnais court hearing postponed

UK – A court hearing between consulting firm Watson Wyatt and the UK pension fund of French bank Credit Lyonnais over negligence allegations has been postponed to May 9.

The trial had been scheduled for today with Nicolas Bragge, a Master of the Supreme Court, Chancery Division but it was not in the court list today.

Watson Wyatt spokesman Bruce Wraight told IPE it had been rescheduled but was not available for further comment.

Credit Lyonnais Securities and the trustee company of the French bank’s UK pension fund, Credit Lyonnais Trustees Ltd., filed the claim against Watson Wyatt LLP, Watson Wyatt Partners and Watson Wyatt Worldwide on March 28 2003.

The UK Credit Lyonnais scheme declined to comment on the change of dates.

The claim reads: “Claim for damages, interest and costs for breach of contract and/or fiduciary duty and/or negligence in respect of the provision of and/or failure to provide actuarial, investment and consultancy advice and/or services.”

According to the document, Credit Lyonnais - represented by law firm Taylor Wessing - expects to recover more than £15,000 (€22,080) from the Reigate-based firm, which represented by Simon Konsta of Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.

The consultant has not mentioned the claim in its annual reviews and has not openly spoken about it until recently.

Legal experts polled by IPE in February when news of the action emerged expressed doubts that the action would succeed but suggest that if it did it could “open the floodgates”.

A barrister for a leading legal firm told IPE last month that negligence cases tended to be reasonably short, lasting between three and 10 days. A two-to-three-day trial could cost between £350,000 and £1m.

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