AXA's legal panel review will not be completed until the autumn, according to AXA head of claims David Williams.

Anxious lawyers on the panel have been left on "tenterhooks", according to one source, waiting for AXA to complete its streamlining programme.

Williams said the delay had been caused by the appointment of new legal services manager Scott Balfour.

Williams said: "With Balfour not yet fully on board, it seems silly to make the decisions without involving him. We have been basically stalling the process until he joins."

AXA has extended its contractual arrangements with the 13 law firms on its present panel. "The decision will be definitely made this year, and in place by September," Williams added.

The firms under review are: Badhams, Beachcroft Wansbroughs, Berrymans Lace Mawer, Cartwrights Insurance Partners, Jacksons, James Chapman & Co, Keoghs, Morgan Cole, Palser Grossman, The Anderson Partnership, HBM Sayers, Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw and Kennedys.

Williams said the number of firms may drop.