Tim Ward KC Honoured by President of Iceland

11 Dec 2023

Tim Ward KC has been awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of the Falcon by the President of Iceland. The Order “may be conferred on Icelandic or foreign individuals for achievements to the benefit of the Icelandic people”. It is the highest honour the Icelandic State can bestow on individuals. The award recognised his role in the successful defence of Iceland in the “Icesave” case before the EFTA Court.  Following the collapse of the entire Icelandic banking system in 2008, British and Dutch investors lost access to their deposits in the  privately owned Icesave bank. The British and Dutch Governments compensated individual investors and sought recovery from the Icelandic state. Proposals for repayment were rejected by the Icelandic people in two referenda. The EFTA Surveillance Authority brought infringement proceedings, arguing that under the terms of a deposit guarantee directive, the Icelandic State was obliged to ensure that the sums guaranteed were paid out. In effect the State must be the guarantor of last resort. Given the size of the bank failure, as compared to the Icelandic economy, this would  have been equivalent to a burden of tens of thousands of Euros on each Icelandic family. The Court rejected that argument, holding there was no such obligation under the Directive, at least in a case of systemic bank failure. There have since been repayments from the estate of the collapsed bank.