On Thursday, Lord Justice Carnwarth ruled that the Government unlawfully rejected the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s findings that maladministration had caused injustice to Equitable Life policyholders.
The decision requires the Government to greatly expand the number of policyholders eligible for recompense by rolling back the eligibility date to the early 1990s, as originally proposed by Ombudsman Ann Abraham.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne said he will advise Sir John Chadwick, who was appointed in January to report to the Government on paying compensation, to adhere to the ruling.
Equitable Life has welcomed the Government’s climbdown but is appealing to MPs to continue to demand progress towards justice for policyholders in a Parliamentary debate on the matter, scheduled for tomorrow.
The firm says it fears many policyholders may not receive due compensation if the Government continues to rely on “disproportionate impact” rather than the Ombudsman’s recommendation of “relative loss” in determining the level and scope of compensation.
Equitable Life has called for a “clear deadline” for the delivery of a fair payment scheme.
Chief executive Chris Wiscarson says: “Without a clear deadline for delivery the process is set to drag on indefinitely. Our policyholders have been waiting far too long to have this injustice righted. They are entitled to closure.”