Big banks top High Court appearances

THE UK’S largest four banks were repeatedly in court last year as the number of High Court cases involving FTSE 100 companies jumped by 16 per cent.

Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and HSBC collectively made up 43 per cent of all High Court appearances by the UK’s largest companies, according to a yearly survey by legal services group Sweet & Maxwell.

Of the banks, Lloyds topped the list for the highest number of cases seen by a judge after it went to court 24 times in the year ending 30 June 2010.

FTSE 100 companies in the financial services sector, which make up 18 per cent of the elite group, accounted for over 58 per cent of appearances in front of the High Court.

Sweet & Maxwell said the rising number of court disputes involving companies within the financial services sector, including insurance companies, is connected to the fallout from the economic crisis.

Meanwhile, the total number of High Court commercial disputes involving a FTSE 100 company are up on last year after 179 cases were held before a judge, marking a rise from the same period last year when 154 rows hit the courts.

However, the rise in litigation suggests that the flood of commercial disputes following the economic downturn has yet to peak, said Sweet & Maxwell.

And that number is expected to rise, according to the legal services group, as claimants have a six-year window to launch a claim.

Other companies to dominate the courts include British Airways, management consultancy group, AMEC, Royal Dutch Shell and British Sky Broadcasting.

FTSE-100 COMPANIES IN HIGH COURTS
Top 10 July 1 2009 to June 30 2010
Lloyds Banking Group 24

Barclays 22

Royal Bank of Scotland 22

HSBC 9

Aviva 8

Standard Life 6

British Airways 6

AMEC 5

Royal Dutch Shell 5