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Judge questions Government claim

The Government failed to back up its claim that the state does not pay compensation for regulatory failure at the Equitable Life judicial review last week, according to the Equitable Life Members Action Group.

As part of last week’s High Court hearing, in the Government’s defence statement, barrister Clive Lewis, QC, said Parliament’s position is that it does not pay compensation for failed financial regulation.

But when pressed by Appeal Court Lord Justice Robert Carnwath to show where Parliament has said this, Lewis was unable to produce any evidence other than a statement made by Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper in January when she said: “As the House will be aware, Parliament has recognised over many years that it is not generally appropriate for the taxpayer to pay compensation even where there is regulatory failure.”

Emag general secretary Paul Braithwaite, who was present at the High Court hearing, says: “The judge rather made a fool of the Government’s position because he showed that Parliament has not adopted this approach. Clearly, both judges took a dim view because the defence could not substantiate these claims.”

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