The battle lines were drawn between Peter Cullum and Bob Beckett this week as Towergate moved to halt Insurance Risk Solutions (IRS) from allegedly poaching its clients.

In an interim injunction hearing at London's High Court, Towergate accused Bob Beckett's company IRS of soliciting clients in an orchest-rated manner.

Towergate claims that following the appointment of 15 former Country Mutual Insurance Brokers (CIMB) employees to Beckett's new venture in Bury St Edmunds, a series of clients were approached and signed transfer mandates to move their business across to IRS in breach of contract.

IRS strongly denies the allegations viewing evidence presented by Towergate as entirely speculative.

A lawyer acting on behalf of IRS said: "We would suggest that there is no evidence that there has been a breach of contract."

Counsel for Towergate said that the 15 people who defected to IRS in 2006 had access to information concerning 641 clients.

On 7 February Towergate had received transfer mandates from 49 clients. This was worth £263,000 in commissions and fees.

Three weeks later, on 27 February that figure had escalated to 119 client transfers, worth a total fee and commission income of £400,000.

The Towergate lawyer said. "If the barrage of attack continues there is a risk of a further 200 to 250 clients transferring."

He argued that it was Beckett's "stated objective" to take up to 50% of Towergate's clients in a bid to weaken its client base and force it to sell the business back to Total Broker Solutions, which owns IRS.

The interim injunction sought by Towergate moves to prevent any of the 15 IRS employees contacting any of the 641 clients named by Towergate.